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.
The seasoned chefs at Texas Brisket BBQ fan the flavor-imbuing flames of oak-fueled carousal pits as they slowly smoke a menu of traditional Texas barbecue, supplemented by a smattering of authentic Korean dishes and fresh cornbread made with a hint of cheddar cheese. A smoky selection of meats by the pound includes brisket, pork ribs, and chopped beef, which ensnare the body's six most sauce-sensitive senses with a tangy, made-from-scratch glaze. Chefs chop, mix, and simmer home-style trimmings daily, compiling 1-pint mounds of creamed corn, red-potato salad, coleslaw, or green beans, and a duo of decadent desserts, such as cheesecake and pecan pie, permeates palates with a sweet finish to counteract the tongue's natural proclivity to recite saucy haikus.
After moving to America at 3 months old, Steve Shin didn’t have much time to learn the culinary traditions of his native South Korea. But when he returned for a year in 2001, he witnessed the cuisine's slimming properties firsthand. Though he consumed lots of food, his waistline shrank, most likely due to the minimal grease and fat content in South Korean cuisine. Inspired by his journey, he tried to eat a more healthy diet when he returned to the U.S, but after several rounds of salads and sandwiches, fast food lured him back to his old habits. Frustrated, he started brainstorming ways to build healthy and balanced meals, which led to b.b.bop. At his Asian-fusion restaurant, the menu is centered on wholesome bowls of rice, veggies, and protein, steering customers away from heavy, fatty meals, such as a giant butter sculpture.
To whip up b.b.bop's signature entree, cooks line bowls with a rice of the customer's choice, from a jasmine-scented Thai type to a nutty, fiber-filled brown variety. Next, the customer selects a lean, flame-grilled protein from options including pulled pork, chicken breast, or marinated tofu. Veggies such as bell peppers and bean sprouts add color and crunch to the dish, and sauce—the finishing touch—comes in more than a half-dozen flavors, from spicy red pepper to sweet teriyaki.
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.
At Koreana, conversation takes place over the sizzling sounds emanating from tabletop barbecues, where boneless rib eye, pork belly, and marinated chicken are cooked before diners' eyes. In addition to Korean classics, including fish stews and four types of bibimbap, the kitchen staff also keeps busy by assembling more than 25 sushi rolls and frying dumplings and tempura dishes.
Sushi Cafe owner Dae Woo calls upon nearly two decades of restaurant experience in Asia to cultivate a chopstick-friendly menu bursting with sushi rolls, tempura delicacies, and traditional Japanese dinner entrees. Artful arrangements of sushi decorate the restaurant’s bar, and steamy bowls of miso and udon soups obscure the view across booths nestled between wooden screens. Chopsticks clash over thick cuts of sashimi that await the winners on soft beds of rice, and thin slices of beef doused in korean sweet sauce represent the Asian mainland. As if to show off their culinary prowess, the expert sushi chefs dare diners to customize their own rolls and fearlessly dive headfirst into deep fryers to retrieve tempura vegetables.