Se Ja Meh-- What to order at Korean Restaurants?
Never been to Korean, and am kind of intimidated. Anything not to miss, and what's the procedure for grilling at the table?
Keep it simple. Pajeon (scallion pancakes), Chap Jae (vermicelli noodles with veggies, meat seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. Bulgogi (grilled marinated sirloin you wrap in lettuce and top with fermented bean paste), kalbi (bbq short ribs). Served with an array of kimchi (pickled veggies). If you order at least 2 meats, you can grill them on your own table. If you don't want to smell, have them do it in the kitchen but you take the fun out of it. Enjoy.
I can see why people would recommend jap chae for a Korean newbie, but personally I think it's kind of an "unimpressive" choice taste-wise. Don't get me wrong, I'm Korean, but too often jap chae is flavorless and just greasy - basically turns out to be stir fried vermicelli noodles that don't really have anything to do with the rest of Korean food. I would be afraid of giving off the impression that the rest of Korean food is bland and greasy.
I agree with the suggestion of galbi though - who doesn't like galbi? I'd also try ordering a casserole/stone pot dish, maybe one that's not spicy? You can try dolsot bibimbap and just not put all of the gochujang in. Or get a bubbling stew that's either not spicy or ask them to tone it down. All too often I feel like everyone thinks of Korean food as either bibimbap or grilled meats.
As for suggestions, I'd say pick a casserole/stew that sounds good. Soon tofu jigae might be a good beginner choice, just tell them to lessen the spice if you can't take it - though if you eat with rice, it'll round nicely.
hot stone pots are great. slam the rice against the pot when it arrives at your table so it'll get crispy. YUM! i also love Dduk bok kee (Korean rice cakes. They are spicy.
As far as grilling at the table is concerned, they bring you the raw meat on the table and cut it up using scissors!!! then they'll place it on the grill for you and you get to turn it over as it browns. They are usually very quick to step in if you need help. really not a problem. I had no clue at first but it's fast and easy.