Monday, March 3, 2008

Buga Korean BBQ

Last Thursday, we were in the mood for Korean. We debated a return to Noodle Town, but word on the interweb had Buga winning in the panchan wars. Noodle Town's panchan was pretty weak, so we decided to give Buga a try.

Our server had some pretty strong opinions about an item we wanted to order: spicy pork bulgogi. So strong, in fact, that she kept insisting that we can't handle the spiciness. After a few minutes of back-and-forth (she was adamant that we couldn't eat it, we kept protesting that we were fine with it), she put it on our tab. Then, she tells us we can't grill it at our table because of the smoke generated by the chili sauce. Fine. In order to grill the regular bulgogi (beef) at the table, we had to order a second "grill-able" dish. She recommended marinaded ribeye. It's basically more bulgogi, just a different cut of beef.

Our panchan arrived:

To the far left is chopped lettuce with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of chili powder. Around the grill, counter-clockwise, the smallest plates were: seaweed, bean sprouts, spicy fish jerky, potato/apple salad (behind teacup), kimchee, spinach, slices of cucumber, and what looked like cubes of spicy daikon.

Each of us received plates of dduk, or rice noodle wrappers (right next to chopsticks), and thin slivers of daikon (not in photo). Our two beef dishes arrived first. The entire plate classic bulgogi was immediately placed on the grill. I wasn't a fan, because I usually like to divide the grill in half and have a different meat on each half.

Thin slices of beef that were slightly fatty. Good quality beef and it grilled up nicely. There wasn't much room for the other dish and this one cooked very quickly.

Our marinated ribeye was cut into ridiculously small chunks. Uncooked, the largest were about 2 inches by 1 inch and the smaller ones a little bigger than 1 x 1 inch.

Maybe it was for wrapping purposes, but once grilled, many of the pieces were the size of a Starburst. They were also a little tough because they cooked so quickly.

Our spicy pork bulgogi arrived. Despite the server's many protests, it wasn't spicy. At all.

We're not sure what happened, but we suspect the server took it upon herself to request a watered-down version from the kitchen. That kind of BS makes me mad. Serve it to us as it's supposed to be. If we couldn't handle it, that's our problem. She'd warned us and that should be enough.

We felt like a non-meat dish, so we went with a very simple noodle. Out of the 6 noodle dishes on their menu, this was the only one that was hot. D. wasn't in the mood for cold buckwheat noodles. It was called "banquet noodle" and was a soft rice noodle served in a basic broth with some vegetables and sliced egg. Not bad. As a stand-alone dish, this would have been a satisfying and simple lunch.

Not the worst visit, but not the best.

2 bites:

KirkK said...

Hi GF - Sounds like a terrible visit....we eat at Buga several times a month, and really haven't had a problem. The meat is designed for Dduk Bossam style eating, but I dunno about the rib eye...I don't think I've ever had that there. They also should offer a second round of panchan....unless for some reason they're getting a bit "tight" about things. There's no reason EVER to have gotten that kind of condescending service. Too bad.....

Meandering Eats said...

Thanks for all of your patience, Kirk! I appreciate you taking the time to listen to me rant via email. Did you receive my reply? I'm not sure if my emails from that account make it past spam filters, so I figure I'd double-check.

2 bites