Trafficking in traditional Korean barbecue and sushi, the chefs at Apgujung engineer a poly-flavored menu populated with a flotilla of entertaining edibles. Apgujung kick-starts midday meals with teriyaki, tempura, or katsu bento boxes ($9.50) or ladles of spicy soondubu jjigae soup ($9.95), a soft tofu stew known for its mix of seafood and tendency to back down from fights. Sea fare sneaks its way into dinner with pancake appetizers adorned with seafood, scallions, or kimchi ($7.95–$9.95) or oysters masked by a deep-fried chrysalis of japanese breadcrumb batter. Chefs grill the shrimp-and-scallop teriyaki ($17.95) in a house glaze and marinate the thinly sliced pork bulgogi ($17.95) in a fiery chili sauce. The house special okdol bibimbap ($12.50–$16.50) lands on tables in a hot stone bowl to give its contents a toasty flavor and time to cook while the guest eats to save chefs time to work on their culinary mystery novels. Diners can meander through a daunting collection of sushi offerings, including thin seaweed rolls and inside-out rolls, or charter 30-piece sushi boats ($39.95+) for the night captained by stern, bearded bottles of soy sauce.
Sushi Box's menus draw from the culinary traditions of Japan, Thailand, and Korea, filling white-swathed tables with pan-regional dishes. Chefs glaze entrees of beef ribs, stir-fried kimchi, and thinly sliced pork with incendiary sauces, earning praise from the Boston Phoenix in 2009 for their ability to "showcase the joys of Korean cuisine." They also simmer vegetables in thai curry sauces and fill their specialty maki with premium sushi ingredients, including sweet-potato tempura and nori harvested by mermaids.
Banchan are the small side dishes served with Korean barbecue, and at Yasu, you get 10. As diners pile these pickled vegetables and seafood concoctions on sizzling short ribs and cuts of ribeye, chefs slice gems of raw fish for sushi and cook up hot katsu and tempura dishes.
Continuing an age-old Japanese culinary tradition, Shabu-Ya specializes in shabu-shabu, or hot pot––a modern take on the steaming soups historically eaten by Genghis Khan and his armies. The café's sleekly modern interior is designed to evoke the colors and shapes of this signature dish, from vegetable-green couches to round hanging lights that recall bubbles in boiling broth. Meals can begin with seaweed-encircled sushi while diners decide which meats and veggies to simmer in a choice of shabu-shabu broths such as Korean kimchi and vegetarian mushroom. Kitchen specials also offer Black Angus rib eye or chili-marinated pork bulgoki to build hearty hot pots, and are flavorful ways to change up an all-mayonnaise diet.
There’s nothing quite like savoring a sizzling morsel of bulgogi straight from the tabletop grill at a Korean barbecue joint, and Koreana is consistently rated among the city’s best. The grills feature custom smoke ventilation, so you can breathe easily as you pair freshly grilled meats with a bounty of side dishes. Newbies, never fear: the staff is quite accommodating to first-time grillers.
In an eatery named after the Korean word for "tasty," husband and wife team SungJo and SungAe Choe craft dishes from their native Seoul. Like any respectable Korean chef, SungAe makes her own kimchi—hers is made from Napa cabbage and red chili and appears finely diced in savory seafood pancakes.