Oct 3, 2010

Stepped On A Landmine...Cham Soot Gol @ Garden Grove

Korean barbeque is one of these dishes that can hardly get all messed up,
You figure out the marinade, soak the meat for hours, and slap it on the grill,
The end result should be: 1. good 2. very good 3. non-stop drooling good.

Sadly, I had an awful lunch at Cham Soot Gol in Garden Grove,
I can proudly announce that this is my first Korean barbeque place that I would never want to step in again,
Back in Taiwan, we call this kind of unpleasant dining experience - stepped on a landmine,

I actually searched Yelp for an all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque around Orange County area the night before my horrible lunch,
The 4 star rating caught my attention, and yes, it was Cham Soot Gol,
Being adventurous to try out new places, there I was 12 hours after -

Sunny day, bright blue sky; I was filled with delighted mood before entering the eatery.

Once the hostess set me and my friend down at the table,
Immediately, I can felt that everything was a wee bit sticky..oily per se.
Bleh, still tolerable, let's moved on to the menu.

$13.99 for lunch hour all-you-can-eat barbeque,
Menu includes:
Pork belly
Thin sliced beef brisket
Spicy pork B.B.Q.
Beef B.B.Q.
Chicken B.B.Q
Banchan (small dishes)
Choice of egg pot, bean paste stew, or tofu soup

What a deal (I thought).

Banchan came, they might look decent from the picture, but trust me, the taste is not.
The flavor was bland, definitely need more seasoning,
In addition to that, where's my kimchi?
Excuse me? I'm eating at a Korean barbeque place without kimchi!?
It's like going to a burger joint without french fries.

Good lord they did give me my duk bo sam (thin rice paper),
Otherwise I would just walk out the door without a word..
That'll be like eating burger without the buns!

Beer first, need to calm down a little bit...

Beef brisket came, normal quality,
Well, you can't really mess up un-marinated thinly sliced beef right?

So what people usually do is take some cooked meat, banchan, sauce, and just wrap them with the rice paper -

And eat it all at once, yummy!
The other Korean barbeque place called Shik Do Rak also offers thinly sliced pickled radish as another option to wrap the meat,
I'm totally in love with that,
The slightly sour-ish radish together with semi-greasy barbeque meat - to die for.

Then our "miscellaneous" marinated meat came up -

Put it this way, I had to dip them in a lot of chili sauce to make it more enjoyable,
I felt like the marinated meat from Korean markets can easily outbid this...whatever you call it.

The only highlight of the day, steaming hot egg pot -

Not letting my grudge get in the way of judging this dish,
It was good, especially when it's still bubbling hot,
The egg was silky soft with flavor similar to dashi.

Pork belly -

(Note that all their pots are semi...damaged?)
It came with a pot full of marinade in it,
Supposedly, you dip the pork belly with the marinade for a while before grilling.
This was my second favorite dish of the way,
Unfortunately, most belly pieces came with a few bits of unchewable cartilages that I either had to spit out or eat it with a broken jaw.

Will I come here again?
Hell no.
There're so many all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque around the neighborhood,
I seriously don't understand why this restaurant was 4/5 packed with customers.

If you ever crave for Korean barbeque (not all-you-can-eat type),
Check out Shik Do Rak or Park's Barbeque,
Especially Park's Barbeque,
Hands down still my number one Korean barbeque in Southern California,
It does come with hefty price though, but definitely worth the price.

In the meantime, I'll head back to the journey of finding that perfect all-you-can-eat Korean joint..

*I'll also visit Park's Barbeque again and write an update post on that.

Cindy's Rating: 4

Cham Soot Gol
9252 Garden Grove Blvd, Suite 10
Garden Grove, CA 92842
(714) 590-9292

Hours: Mon - Sun 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.   ( > _.< )"

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