To celebrate my birthday, Mom wanted to take us all out for some Korean BBQ. Having never tried Korean food before, I was a little skeptical; I had just started to be adventurous, branching out into Ethiopian and Vietnamese, and my friend Mike’s description of kimchi left much to be desired ("It smells like garbage and looks like garbage but tastes good"). Nonetheless, in the spirit of adventure, I decided to take Mom up on her suggestion, and we all gathered at Bow Bulgogi House, at 3515 17th Avenue SW.
The appearance of the restaurant left much to be desired; this was definitely a hole in the wall sort of place.
See what I mean?
Nonetheless, despite the strip mall setting and lackluster interior, the food was- in a word- incredible. The waitress was very friendly, and explained everything to us after we let her know we were new to Korean food.
We got lots of sides, including tofu, kimchi and some pickled daikon.
All seemed well thus far, and we’d seen several sizzling dishes of meat carried by us at this point. All of the sudden, though, these arrived:
Of course, at this point we couldn’t help but wonder what the scissors were for, as we only had a few bowls of lettuce on the table along with the side dishes. Our food arrived shortly after.
Jane got the Vietnamese-style shrimp noodle soup.
I got the beef bee bim bab...
…which is rice with beef, mushrooms, something that looked like zucchini, something that looked like spinach, sprouts, and carrot covered with a fried egg, which the waitress then topped with a hot sauce she called "Bee bim bab sauce" (it’s made out of pear juice, amongst other things, so it’s sweet and spicy).
Then you mix the whole thing up so the egg yolk mixes into the rice, making it all quite tasty.
Mom and Nathan got the L.A. bulgalbi, which are barbecued short beef ribs cooked in a very sweet but spicy sauce and served with rice on the side. They were served on a bed of lettuce on a very, very hot sizzling skillet.
And we found out what the scissors were for- cutting up the short ribs!
Kyle and Steph both got the beef bulgogi, which was also served on a skillet with a similar sweet-spicy sauce.
Remember how I mentioned earlier that we were given bowls of lettuce? Well, this is what they were for:
You make wraps with it!
Overall, we all really enjoyed our meals at Bow Bulgogi House. The prices were midrange- the various bulgogis ranged from $14.95 to $15.95, while rice dishes- like the bee bim bab- were between $9.95 and $15.95. However, the food is worth the higher prices; you get a large portion, and I don’t think anyone left unsatisfied. The food all tasted fresh and was served quickly. While the atmosphere of the restaurant is decidedly lacking, the small seating capacity (maybe 30 people at the most) means that the servers can take the extra time to explain things to you to make sure you get the full experience with your food. All in all, I think it’s safe to say that Kyle and I have a new restaurant to add to our list of favorites!