Friday, October 23, 2009
One of the great things about living in the Texas Country Hill is that you can be in complete Texas solitude one minute, and in a few additional minutes, you can be in the center of all that’s happening in Austin, including the diverse ethnic food offerings.
If you’re the least bit adventuresome, and not just into the “meat and potatoes” routine, you need to try Korean food. And, if you are in Austin, please find your way to the Chinatown Center, on North Lamar, and experience the Korean Grill. The Korean Grill is a comfortable spot serving up a nice selection of very good traditional Korean meals.
For me, the friendly service is as good as the food. The owner always comes out to the table to ensure everything is up to satisfaction, and the servers are not reluctant to bring extra helpings of rice and small side dishes. These side dishes, referred to in Korean as “Banchan,” are served with the hot plate selections. Kimchi (Napa cabbage pickled and fermented with red chili peppers) is the most well-known Banchan item, but many other seasoned and specially prepared side dishes include, bean sprouts, cucumbers, anchovies, radish, and more. The Banchan you may get with your meal varies from time to time, but it is all very good.
There is quite an adequate, but not overwhelming selection of appetizers. My favorite is an order of Kimchi pancakes. Other appetizer selections include egg rolls, shrimp, calamari, and salted soy beans.
The entrees provide a wide range of Korean cuisine. There are several stew selections with various combinations of different types of meat or seafood with vegetables. Galbi, grilled beef short ribs, and Bulgogi, marinated grilled beef, are both outstanding. The entrees are brought to the table quickly, and are always hot and delicious.
The Korean Grill provides a selection of soft drinks and beer, but my favorite liquid refreshment is the Korean roasted barley tea, called boricha. Served either hot or cold, it is a nice compliment to the meal.
The Korean Grill, along with countless other great ethnic restaurants in the Austin area, proves that Texas is more than Tex-Mex, beef brisket, and chicken fried steak, and adds a great dimension to the culture and cuisine of modern day Texas.