Koryo Wooden Charcoal BBQ

Koryo is my first true love as far as Korean restaurants are concerned. While I’d been sampling Korean food all over the Bay Area for years before I finally found Koryo in Oakland, it was the first where I became a regular. Despite the somewhat sterile interior (the space was under construction the last time I visited), their bulgogi and stellar banchan won me over. After a few visits, I decided to branch out with what I order.

The last time I was there, I eschewed the grilled items in favor of hoe naengmyeon, a bowl of cold noodles with raw skate fish and chili pepper dressing.

Hoe naengmyeon

It was refreshing and spicy, but after a few bites, I found myself wishing I’d ordered bulgogi. Maybe it was the skate – I love raw fish but wasn’t expecting to do so much chopstick maneuvering for so little meat on the bones. Maybe I had just gotten too used to having the bulgogi – the novelty of cooking your own food over a coal fire at your table while your cheeks turn red from the heat is so much fun, and the grilled beef remains my favorite dish at Koryo to date.

After several visits, Koryo is still among my top three favorite Korean restaurants. But the dishes are hit or miss, and depending on what you order, you may end up hooked or dissapointed.

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