Banchan, Bibimbap, Bulgogi and More at Koryo Korean BBQ Last Night in Glendale

Page 2 of 2

Billy, a southern California native who's getting into the restaurant biz after a career in real estate, explained that the name "Koryo" used to refer to a Korean dynasty and was a proposed name for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In addition to welcoming guests in the same fashion as he would invite them into his home, Cho took time to explain every course and offer seemingly endless glasses of Korean soju, a distilled beverage similar to vodka.

The feast began with a selection of traditional appetizers and side dishes, called banchan, the most recognizable of which was the fiery red kimchi. Spicy enough to be interesting but not enough to turn off the unfamiliar, Koryo's kimchi is a great experience for those just entering the Korean food world. Tamer options for the less adventurous included the marinated bean sprouts and spinach, which were tangy but mild and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

After the banchan came platters piled with japchae, a dish made with sweet potato noodles stir fried with sesame oil and vegetables -- in this case spinach, bean sprouts, carrots and beef. For those who've never experienced it, the noodle's squishy texture can be a surprise. But Koryo's glass noodles were a crowd favorite, both flavorful and filling.

To complete the atmosphere and create a unique social experience, Koryo offers grills set into the family-style tables on which guests can cook their own meats. For last night's barbeque party, servers presented piles of uncooked bulgogi, or marinated beef as well as pork belly and short ribs, accompanied with a selection of sauces and accoutrements. The in-seat barbeque is the perfect sort of thing for a night out with friends, though you'll have to endure hot steam in the face and a beef-scent that will definitely follow to the car and home. In last night's case, the stench and heat were worth it.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria