Starting off, I had heard about this restaurant from a friend at work, and she had spoke highly of it. Personally I wasn't hoping for much. I was pleasantly surprised.
For a bit of history, the building this restaurant is located in used to be a Blockbuster Video, but there are no signs of that old business left. We were seated at a table with a 14" wide metal plate imbedded into it. The manager for the evening, a very pleasant older Korean later, came by and took our drink orders and then sent us to the buffet to select things to cook on our "grill". The buffet itself was seperated into 3 main areas. The first are was some traditionally cooked Korean vegetables, meat dishes, fried omelets, soups, etc. Think buffet at any other regular chinese buffet. The second area was a cold vegetable area, which included lettuces, sesame leaves, fresh shredded green onions and slice fresh garlic. The third was an assortment of raw meats. I have to admit coming across raw shrimp complete with heads, and legs, and eyes was something I hadn't seen outside of somewhere like Whole Foods, or down on the coast. Raw baby octupus, as well as what appeared to be some sort of bone with meat and skin on it (maybe some kind of tail, or pig ankle, unsure really) was a little odd to find as a selection as well. In this raw meat section was also found several different marinated porks and beefs, as well as straight slices of beef and pork ribs. Bringing back an assortment, including a shrimp to try out, I brought it back to the table. Already the griddle was heating up, and soon after my return the owner/manager/Lady In Charge came by and began teaching us how to sample true Korean flavors.
She headed up to the bar and returned with a pile of the fresh garlic, the onions, soy leaves, and 5 different sauces. She then proceeded to take the meats I had selected and scattered them onto the griddle so they could cook. As they cooked she went off to talk to some of the other guests and then returned when the meats were done. At that point she prepared for us different types of food. She started first with just simple steak, a piece of roasted garlic, and a few fresh strands of green onion with a sesame salt oil. Then she did the same except made it with a lettuce wrapper and then a soy wrapper. She really took the time to help us learn to use the griddle and aided us in finding flavors we enjoyed. This is something Montgomery rarely has and I hope it lasts. After a few different demostrations she sent us back to the buffet to experiment more with our new found skills. My date and I selected various meats, and found that the red marinated steak was simply our favorite. The flavors were amazing with just a touch of heat. As we continued to cook and experiment the manager would come by and check on us, and suggest new ideas like "try this with this, and this, and that sauce on top".
In closing, I had a wonderful time, and I like having something this exotic in Montgomery. While they do have a lunch time price that's different than the dinner price, I'm not sure I'd want to go at lunch. There's something about sitting back and relaxing around a hot skillet in the middle of your table as your food cooks that lets you enjoy your meal that much more. Conversations and plots to try new and different things off the buffet make for a very enjoyable evening. For all those that don't like stepping outside their flavor-zone I suggest sticking to your traditional chinese buffets. This is not a place you'll like. If you do end up there and I hope you do, take the time to try a sesame leaf wrap with fresh marinated steak, green onions, and some garlic. It's really an exotic flavor that has more depth in a single bite than you'll get from eating just about any other chinese restraunt.
Final Bill (per person):
$17.99 Buffet with Korean BBQ
- Helpful Staff
- Complex Flavors
- Not for The Exotic-Food-Impaired