Kobecue combines flavors from the far east of Asia with those popular in the American southwest. Nowhere is this marriage more evident than its fusion tacos, where short ribs and spicy pork come dressed with onion, cilantro, and Kobecue's special sauces, and stuffed inside white corn tortillas or a self-addressed envelope. Those same meats can also be found in a hot stone bowl, sizzling just above a bed of rice and just below a fried egg, it's yolk begging to be broken and mixed in to a custom-chosen selection of veggies and scratch-made sauces. Kobecue’s signature burgers, meanwhile, feature bibimbob sirloin beef in place of a traditional patty, and arrive topped with spicy mayonnaise and all the fixings, while their Korean barbecue plates make a hefty meal out of angus steaks and short ribs served with rice, soup, and vegetables.
Guests at Korea Garden Restaurant play an unusually active role in the preparation of their food. Pops and crackles rise from the restaurant’s tableside grills, where tender beef tongue and spicy marinated pork sizzle to perfection. Though the focus is on Korean barbecue, not everything on the menu is so meaty. There are also plentiful helpings of kimchi and steamy bowls of soup. Among the latter, the two most popular are likely boiled cod pot stew and buckwheat noodles in a cold, refreshing broth. One of the oldest Korean restaurants in Houston, Korea Garden has been ladling the good stuff since a quarter century ago, when everyone was still driving around the city in vintage space shuttles.
"Gogi" means "meat" in Korean, but the Oh My Gogi! food truck doesn't cater to carnivores only—when ordering a kimchi quesadilla, you can fill the tortilla with short ribs, chicken, Spanish pork, or veggies. Indeed, the truck is more concerned with playing with your food than limiting your options. Its menu combines Mexican street food with Korean barbecue, complete with homemade marinades and secret sauces. Add-ons such as a fried egg to fries and caramelized kimchi make meals out of barbecue tacos, which come with meat, double meat, or doubledouble meat. To find the truck at any given hour, fans can check Twitter and Facebook or commit to sleeping on top of it.
Bon Ga Korean Restaurant’s menu is a veritable encyclopedia of authentic Korean dishes. Hot pot stews, pan-fried fish, and, of course, Korean barbecue are only some of the options that have earned the restaurant praise from the Houston Press, among others. Though single servings of the kimchi bean curd stew and boneless beef ribs are unimpeachable, Bon Ga truly shines when it comes to sharable plates of roasted shrimp, pan-fried squid, and young radish soba noodles. And though the term “boiled dishes” might not sound terribly enticing at first, it’s a sure hit at Bon Ga. Chef prepare these delightfully spicy seafood, tofu, or goat specialties right at the table.
With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.
Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.