Raven exclaims, "Bulgogi chuseyo!" ("Korean bbq please!")
A couple of years ago, Soot Bull Jeep was the standard for me when it came to Korean bubbaque places that used real charcoal in their grills as opposed to just gas (come to think of it, Soot Bull Jeep was the only place that I knew of that used charcoal). Then a friend told me of this legendary place that was better than Soot Bull Jeep. It was hard to find since there was no sign in English, but the name in Korean meant "House of Charcoal."
I never did find out exactly where this place was (I knew that it was on Olympic somewhere) until I posted a comment on eatdrink&bemerry's
site and mentioned the legend of the "House of Charcoal." He responded that he thought Cham Sut Gol might be the place that I've been looking for. Since Raven and I were going to see "The Host" and I knew that I would be craving Korean afterwards, I suggested to her that we try this place.
Cham Sut Gol might just be the "House of Charcoal." It's on Olympic, there is no English sign, and it definitely has charcoal grills. Is it better than Soot Bull Jeep?
Smoke gets in your eyes (and in your clothes and in your hair...)
Cham Sut Gol has fairly high quality of meat but it's not a large amount and it's rather expensive. The Galbi (short rib) was nearly $24 and the Bulgogi (thinly sliced marinted beef) was nearly $18. We probably could have ordered an additional meat, since we were still hungry, but we really didn't feel like paying an additional $10 - $12 each for it. At most places that I go to ordering one plate of meat per person is a sufficient amount of food. However, in their defense, they do have lunch specials that are a combination of meat and some other dish like naeng-myun (cold noodles). I didn't look at the price of the lunch specials but I'm assuming that they are considerbly cheaper.
Below, the waitress suggested that I add a slice of the wasabi marinated daikon radish to my beef and rice noodle wrapper (not only did it look pretty but it tasted great.)
At this outing we received rice noodle sheets and lettuce salad to make our bangja gui but I think that my preference is towards lettuce leaves, rice, and scallion salad. We received a variety of dipping sauces: fermented bean; chile garlic; and sesame oil with a healthy dose of salt added to it.
A tour of the panchan. Good but nothing stood out.
Below, beautiful and tasty seaweed salad:
The de rigueur kim chee:
Slices of raw garlic and jalapenos that we put on the grill (notice the bean sprout salad in the background):
Now to answer the question posed above. Even though I like the sides better at Soot Bul Jeep (that scallion salad is fabulous!) I think that I'm leaning towards Cham Sut Gol. I thought that the quality of the meat was higher and the service was quite good. I like the fact that parking was pretty hassle free at Cham Sut Gol (lot and plenty of street parking.) It's probably not too much more expensive than Soot Bull Jeep because SBJ charges an additional $2 per person for rice and panchan.
Labels: barbeque, Cham Sut Gol, Galbi, Korean, Korean barbeque, panchan