Korean BBQ Lunch in San Diego
Taking a large (12) group out to lunch in San Diego. We want to do Korean BBQ.
Any thoughts on Buga, Seoul, Dae Jang, or Jeong Won? Any other places?
Do any of these have really large tables with grill? I'm thinking we'll have to split in half. Are any not open for lunch? Any advice would be appreciated.
Just for archival posterity, I ended up going to Buga.
They have two side rooms, one has a double table (two grills) that will hold 10 and the other room is much larger with two of these tables. The small room was filled with Koreans. My party ended up being 9, but I think you could have squeezed up to 13 people on the tables or very easily add a small table on the end for even more people, if you could get the staff to cooperate.
Pan chan (or ban chan if you prefer) was good, but not as varied as I would have liked. I am comparing to my favorite place back in San Jose--before their management change. The meat was of very good quality, I thought, we did beef, pork, pork belly, short rib, chicken, tongue, and shrimp. I think Buga is a bit weak on the seafood. I ordered the combination meal and added a couple extra plates of meat. The combination came with a lot of shaved beef and pork that was not marinated. It required the use of sauces and wraps to improve flavor, so I would suggest ordering mostly marinated meats if you go with Korean BBQ newbies. The jap chae was a little sweeter than I would have liked, but still pretty good. I didn't see the fish and egg pancakes thingees on the menu (not sure what they are called), but they were a favorite of mine back in San Jose.
The service was typical Korean, efficient and not very friendly, but I'm finding that to be somewhat normal overall in San Diego. I even said thank you to the lady at the cash wrap on the way out and watched her visibly control herself as she casually ignored me. I found it hilarious.
It was a lot of fun as 7 of the 9 had never done Korean and knew nothing about pan chan and/or kimchi. One of the first time people dove right into the cooking part and had a blast making sure each meat was represented on the grill, which is normally my job, so that allowed me to do some serious eating.
Best part was that the meal was vendor sponsored, about $300 for 9 with softdrinks, tax, and tip. We could have probably backed down a few dishes, too.
Buga is the standard with excellent meats. Seoul used to be my fav - years ago - but not cutting edge. You might want to look over Kirk's visits to the other two:
Kirk has also posted about Buga several times.
Not sure if I've seen a table that would hold 12 at any of them. You could call and check.
re: Ed Dibble
I seem to recall a colleague running into a little trouble getting the actual grill experience at Buga for lunch. They do serve lunch, but it may all come hot from the kitchen.
But Buga is definitely excellent! They also have at least 1 private room off to the left of the entrance that I've seen quite a few people hanging around in, so it's worth a call!