Featured in Seattle magazine and The Seattle Times, Kaya Korean Barbecue prides itself on its attentive service, posh presentation, massive portions, and a second-story location safe from dinner-interrupting tiger stampedes. Platoons of food soldiers can arm themselves with massive appetizers such as the marinated raw beef ($15.99) before focusing their attention on the feast as it arrives in steaming hot rock bowls. Choose from a variety of dishes ranging from the Angus marinated short ribs ($27.99) to soft tofu soup ($10.99), or go for an authentic barbecue experience by searing enormous platters of sizzling meats on the minigrill located in the center of your table, with selections such as the Kaya combo for four (Angus rib eye, marinated short ribs, marinated sirloin, beef brisket, beef tongue, bean paste stew, and your choice of beverages) ($96.99). Overhanging vents inhale the mouthwatering barbecue odors that would otherwise cling to clothes for days, ensuring that diners are not tempted to try out new recipes at home such as blouse jerky and deep-fried pants. In addition to grilluminating guests, Kaya pours copious cupfuls of Korean rice wine and beer.
Soybeans that make the journey to Hosoonyi Korean Restaurant have a tasty future ahead of them. The young beans, once matured and fermented, are infused with hot pepper, pulverized into paste, or strained and aged to make soy sauce. Not many restaurants make their own soy sauces in-house, but Hosoonyi’s team prefers to individually monitor the flavors to ensure that they retain their beneficial nutrients and pair perfectly with the eatery's specialty Korean cuisine. The flames of a Korean-style barbecue fire pork, rib-eye steak, and chicken, and a cushion of steamy rice supports the vegetables, beef, and egg that comprise classic bibimbap. Pancakes veer from their traditional breakfast role by incorporating stalks of green onion, slices of squid, and refusing to get out of bed until lunchtime. The restaurant's authentic selection has caught the eye of media outlets such as Sunset Magazine, the Seattle Times and Seattle Met, which lauded the popular sundubu jjigae—a soft-tofu soup brimming with seafood and kimchi—as "pungent, filling, and satisfying."
This hole-in-the-wall Korean joint is a favorite among diners for its piping hot bowls of bi bim bap, and for the table-covering assortment of banchan, or little nibbles that accompany meals. The Stranger called the soon doo boo, or soft tofu soup, " bright red, spicy, and delicious." Aside from the soup--which may be ordered mild, medium, spicy, or extra spicy--the article also praised the heavy jade bowls that contain each of the restaurant's hot pots--aptly named since the serving vessels are kept warm all day in the oven.
Diners at Shilla Restaurant have a choice: become the masters of their own culinary fate or let the chefs do all the work. At tables inset with Korean barbecue, they can flip slices of bulgogi beef, calamari, pork belly until they're perfectly seared. At the sushi bar, chefs roll more than 30 varieties of maki, while in the kitchen others are busy turning out an expansive menu of steamy Korean cuisine such as bibimbap.
Guests cook or slurp up kimchi in a sleek, monochromatic dining room. Beneath paper lampshades, they can counteract bites of spicy Korean entrees by drinking sips of sake.
Korean and Chinese dishes mingle on Red Lantern’s eclectic menu. Under the glow of those namesake red lanterns, guests can order Chinese classics such as General Tso’s chicken and sichuan peppercorn shrimp, or try something new with traditional––and not often seen––Korean dishes such as kkanpunggi (fried chicken with red chilies), or fermented black miso noodles, otherwise known as ja-jang. When it comes to dessert, though, chefs often combine eastern flavors with contemporary western techniques, creating sweets like a crème brulee flavored with black tea, or a vanilla sponge cake delivered by a runaway stagecoach.
One might say Marination’s secret is its sauce, except that its sauce isn’t a secret. The Hawaiian-Korean restaurant’s spicy pork and kalbi beef tacos come slathered in Nunya sauce, a hot miso-mayo blend that Food & Wine’s Kristin Donnelly said she “can’t live without.” Fortunately the restaurant sells its sauce by the jar at each of its two permanent locations, as well as from its roving food truck, which is officially known as Marination Mobile but which founders Kamala and Roz fondly refer to as “Big Blue.” Big Blue is as important to the business as the brick-and-mortar locations, and not just because it came first. It also has brought Marination scads of attention, winning not only Seattle magazine’s award for Best Street food in 2010, but also Good Morning America’s nationwide Best Food Cart contest in 2009. The truck shows up at locations including office buildings and private parties, bringing kalua pork sliders, fried-egg rice bowls, and kimchi quesadillas to lunchtime crowds who would otherwise be forced to eat the tires off a regular truck.