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Korean BBQ IT, Santa Rosa

Melanie Wong | Apr 29, 200104:55 PM

Last weekend I spotted this little place in the unincorporated part on Santa Rosa as I was bumping through the potholes on Sebastopol Road. Just having come from getting my wheels aligned, the thought did occur to me that my tire shop must be doing a booming business from the torn-up streets for sewer improvements on their street.

Anyway, Korean BBQ IT (1129 Sebastopol Road, between Dutton Ave. and Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa,-707-526-4196) has a couple picnic tables outside with a walk-up take-out window. When you step inside, there’s a big sign on the order board that says:

"KIM CHI, WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS? You see that stuff on the side of your plate, well that's Kim Chi. It is a very fine Kim Chi as 'Kim Chi' goes. We noticed that you are not eating your Kim Chi, and we know who you are. So let's start over with this Kim Chi thing. This isn't a salad. It is more of a flavor enhancer to be eaten with rice and our finely grilled meats.

The way you eat Kim Chi is you take a piece of it on your fork, and then you use it to scoop some rice up and eat. Taste Kim Chi and a piece of meat at the same time, aha there you see now.

This is what Korean BBQ is all about. It is an incredible taste treat. Thank you for choosing our BBQ IT."

Guess it’s an uphill battle to expose the Sonoma crowd to this cuisine. In addition to this sign, the menu has enthusiastic and clearly written English descriptions of all the dishes. The Korean counterman doesn’t speak much English, but a novice could muddle along by studying the menu carefully. Just be sure to turn it over, I didn’t notice that the photocopied sheet had more stuff on the back! Unfortunately this meant that I didn’t see the “Spicy BBQ” dishes, and instead order the standard grilled items.

My Grill Combo ($7.50) – a thin blade pork chop and 3 slices of beef short ribs (kal bi) comes with rice, marinated bean sprouts, pickled cucumbers and kim chi on one platter. The grilling was expert and the meats nicely marinated, but the “trademark BBQ IT sauce” was on the bland side. The kim chi was flavorful but not much heat. One of the few times that I could eat my whole portion, usually my palate gets burned out from the first few bites of kim chi. Next time I’ll go for the spicy stuff.

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