Cooking up a fun evening

Ebby Halliday April 2020

Barbecue anyone?

But wait, this isn’t the usual, slathered ribs or marbled ribeye. This is a BBQ venture that might be new to many:

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Korean Barbecue.

This type of barbecue is more about thinner pieces of meat that are heavily marinated and cooked on a griddle or flat-top grill. The sides are lighter. No Mac & Cheese and potatoes. There is usually Kimchi, bean sprouts and rice.

At Omi Korean Grill & Bar, you prepare the meal at your table.

Though way different than the usual Texan BBQ fair, it is absolutely delicious – and available in Arlington in multiple establishments.

My friends and I were finding ourselves stumped for a night out. We wanted to do something outside of our norm but with good drinks and better food.

Then someone suggested Korean barbecue, and it clicked. That was the way to spend our Wednesday evening.

We went to Omi Korean Grill & Bar, located in Lincoln Square, but there are other similar concepts in Arlington.

And what makes Korean barbecue different outside of flavor profile (if you are wanting to be more adventurous)?

You cook your meat at the table.

This experience is big in South Korea, a “family” meal but at a restaurant. It warrants itself to good conversation, long evenings out and a fun activity.

Whenever I go, in both South Korea or Texas, I always feel like I went over to a friend’s house instead of a restaurant. It’s not a place where you eat and leave; you more linger and enjoy the company.

And that’s what my friends and I wanted. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and wanted to truly catch up.

So Korean barbecue it was.

At Omi, we ordered the “all you can eat” option, and we were escorted to a booth with a flat-top grill in the center.

When it is “all you can eat,” you pick the protein from a list of options and servers bring out the raw, marinated meat for someone at your table (never me) to cook and rice to pair it with. They also make sure your flat top doesn’t get too dirty with grease (they switch them out with some impressive efficiency) and provide a cornucopia of sides to add to your meat and rice.

Once finished with that protein, you just order another for a table. We ate the bulgogi (thin slices of marinated beef), steak and pork.

We didn’t do it this time, but if you are hankerin’ for ribs, the galbi (short ribs) are worth a try. And if you want something more in the seafood family, there are squid and octopus options.

We also had dumplings (for an added charge) and drank Soju to round out the experience.

Soju is a neutral-tasting spirit (think vodka with less burn) that can come in a variety of flavors.

Man, I have stories about Soju. But that is for another time.

It’s a great addition for the experience, but if that sounds too harsh, I would recommend the Bokbunja, a Korean Raspberry wine, or they have more Western drink options.

Korean barbecue is an evening out, not a quick eat, but worth checking out if you are wanting something different.

Omi is my favorite place in Arlington, but there is Jin Korean BBQ off Cooper St. that has a more buffet style situation so you can pick and choose your proteins and sides at your leisure.

There is also Namoo Korean Bowl near UTA. This place would be a great place to dip your toe in Korean cuisine without the cooking experience. And both Omi and Jin also offer entree dishes that you don’t have to cook.