Visited Seoul B.B.Q. on Convoy Street in San Diego on July 5th. Treated parents, siblings and cousin to dinner. No American cuisine is on the menu and that helps this restaurant maintain its authenticity.
Arrived about 18:00 and since we were a party of seven adults, I requested the larger room vs putting two regular tables together - no problem. Also, I emphasized that no miwon (MSG) be added to our food - no problem say Ajuma since she also doesn't like it (whether the cook actually added it to the haemulchiggae or not, we'll never really know but I had to make my food direction known to Ajuma).
The Ajuma who was in charge took care of our orders and one busboy took care of our drinks and other details. The freshly prepared food was well presented and generous in portions.
My mother, cousin and I had the beef kalbi, my father and younger brother had haemulchigge, and my elder brother and his wife had another dish off the menu (sorry I can't recall it).
The kalbi portions were large with an ample amount of toinjang (pardon my English phonetic spelling), garlic and jalapeno peppers. The restaurant didn't have pput or chanyang koch'u (peppers), but the jalapenos were an adequate substitute for this meal. Replenishments were quick and generous, especially with the manul (garlic) and sangch'u (lettuce leaves).
The haemulchiggae was large and there was plenty for my dad and brother. Not quite spicey enough as the version I'm used to in Kunsan City, ChollaBuk Do, but decent enough since we were eating in America.
Drinks, sodas and soju, were plentiful, and the refills were quick with plenty of ice.
My only negative is the cost of soju. Cham-E-Sul cost, if memory serve me, $12 per
500-ml bottle, whereas in Korea, that same bottle would cost about $5.50 (approximately).
Total cost for our meal was $218.14 including the obligatory service charge for 7 or more persons of 15%, so the food and drink were about $190.00. Not bad considering the size of our party and the quantity of food served to us.
Overall, I give this place 4 out of 5; the downgrade is only because of the toning down of the haemulchiggae. But I have to acknowledge that Asian food in the USA will never be as authentic as I can get in Asia and Asians tend to tone down the spiceness of their cuisines for the American palate.
Give Seoul B.B.Q. a try - I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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