I went to Koryo Charcoal BBQ with three friends two weekends ago. I've been meaning to write it up as a Macarthur-BART area restaurant, but obviously I'm slacking! Melanie's post about Koryo for lunch has inspired me to write.
Koryo and the little Korean plaza in which it sits are located about ten minutes' walk from Macarthur BART in Oakland. It's not a place to grab a quick bite while in transit, but it is an excellent destination restaurant for the transit-friendly chowhound. Directions from BART are at the bottom of this post.
We ordered the special dinner for four. This was a barbecue-at-table affair. I should note that this was only my second Korean BBQ experience. The first was at Seoul Garden in Japantown, and it was wonderful, but Koryo exceeded all expectations.
The special dinner included two meats to be cooked at table: the Bul Gogi beef and some kind of sweet spicy pork that reminded me of Al Pastor. The table-cooking method was indeed wooden charcoal, in a hot metal tray brought to our table by a burly guy wearing asbestos gloves. The meal also came with a wide array of pickles; a plate of lettuce for eating with the meat; a plate of dressed lettuce salad; a beef noodle dish; a dumpling/rice noodle soup; and a scallion pancake.
Everything was a delicious treat. I liked the pancake especially, and the daikon kim chee was outstanding. Two of my companions fell in love with the beef noodle dish, a mildly flavored and oddly textured pile of glassy rice noodles with mushrooms and bits of beef in a gentle, sweetish sauce.
The barbecued pork was my personal favorite dish from the meal. I love the experience of sitting at dinner with friends, taking turns grilling, turning and serving the meat while basking in the glow of the hot charcoal.
We had two big beers and also brought a bottle of wine with us. The total bill came to $84, which means two big beers and corkage for the wine was $14 on top of the $70 for the special dinner. It's a bargain if I ever saw one; we all left sated and happy.
Needless to say, we'll be back soon -- this time to try the special dinner for six, which includes beef short rib on the grill.
Address and such are below. To get to Koryo from Macarthur BART, it's about a ten-minute walk: go east on 40th to Telegraph, cross and head north on Telegraph for about four blocks until you come to the little Korean plaza. inset from the street. The BBQ place is at the back.
Telegraph Avenue is also served by the #40 AC Transit bus.
KORYO WOODEN CHARCOAL BBQ
4390 Telegraph Ave., #J
Open 7 days a week, 11am to 2am