After a long hiatus, a few of us sauntered over to Sahn Maru for the lunch special today and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the preparation.
First of all, the tea: the roasted barley tea had a really enjoyable flavor. It was definitely a cut above average.
Then the Banchan: by far, better than recent experiences at Ohgane - crisp flavors, nicely balanced.
And the Dakgalbi (marinated chicken in spicy sauce) was tender, on a bed of slowly sauted onions that were given the time to become nice and sweet and mop up the flavor of the chicken marinade. And a huge plus: it was actually a bit spicy, as requested.
The only disappointment: bim mebop was not prepared in a cast iron pot, and the rice was served on the side. So we missed having that crispy browned rice at the bottom of the pot. But at the same time, it was flavorful, not oily, and all ingredients were fresh. So I wonder if this is just their simplified lunch approach. Or if this is the style of a particular region of Korea.
We all enjoyed it. Plenty of food for 3 of us. And I will definitely go back again soon.
ps- lunch special is served Wed-Sat. Almost all the tables were occupied when we left, mostly Korean families.
Sahn Maru Korean BBQ
4315 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609