Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Seok Gi Si Dae 석기시대

Men like meat. That's kind of an unavoidable fact of life. My brother chose to celebrate his commencement with a dinner at Korean barbeque. Seok Gi Si Dae is a very homey restaurant run by a family of three near Koreatown that specializes in samkyeopsal (pork belly) and galbi (boneless beef rib). The parents prep in the kitchen and the son serves the guests.

We made a reservation at 6pm and found only two other tables eating at the time of our arrival on a Sunday evening. Originally, we were reserved a table in the larger area where you are seated on the ground. The tables are longer there and can fit more people. However, my grandparents were also coming and they are unable to sit on the floor. So we had to all squish at a small table with chairs. This resulted in my sitting right in front of the stove. It can get pretty warm and beware of the splashing oil. I had to put my cardigan back on to avoid getting tiny burns all over my arms... This is probably a benefit of having a longer table. I want to sit on the floor next time, more traditional and adds to the experience!

The menu is small, very small. There are only two choices of meet on the menu, and I believe they now have bulgogi as well for about $25 per serving. I've read that their servings are very plentiful and can fill much more than just one belly. It comes with unlimited side dishes and accompaniments to wrap the grilled meat, one small stone pot of soup, and kimchi fried rice at the very end. It's the full package with the price printed on the menu. The waiter said for our table of seven, a minimum order of six servings is needed. So we went with 4 galbi and 2 samkyeopsal. I think we enjoyed the beef more than the pork, as the pork gets pretty oily... Next time I would order one less pork.
Seok Gi Si Dae Menu
After ordering, all the side dishes (banchan) and wrapping ingredients were served. My family is so funny, we thought the lettuce with julienned green onions and hot sauce was a salad and started eating it before the meat came. Turns out it is supposed to go into the wrap...whoops. The kimchi and picked bean sprouts are put on the grill at the beginning to heat and crisp up. The hot plate is on a tilt, allowing the oils from the meats to flow down, through the kimchi, and into a little bowl under the opening at the end of the board. The kimchi and bean sprouts are also wrapped with some of the meat, but don't eat it all! It'll be used to make the kimchi fried rice at the end. The waiter had to come refill our grilled kimchi a few times since we kept eating it all. Warning: Do not come here if you're on a diet. This meal is full of fat, mwahahaha!
Side Dishes
Bean Sauce & Sesame Oil

Left: All 6 portions of meat
Right: Grilling the meat
The beef was grilled first. He wrapped it with lettuce and added a bit of the spicy 'salad', picked bean sprouts, and a dot of the bean sauce (top sauce in photo above). Be sure to make it a small wrap; it's supposed to be eaten in one bite! The beef can also be paired with a slice of picked radish (part of the banchan). 

The waiter showed us another combination to eat the pork belly, by pairing it with a slice of grilled kimchi. 

It was my family's first time having authentic Korean bbq, so we were totally newbies. Thankfully, the waiter is very very kind and thoughtful. His service is the epitome of restaurant service. It's as if someone welcomed me into their home to have a hearty meal. Not only serving us but also interacting with us. Poor guy has to watch all the tables in the restaurant and part of that job is to help cook, flip, and cut everyone's meat. When the first set of meat was finished cooking, he demonstrated how to wrap a piece of meat with a small piece of lettuce and fill it with a bit of other veggies and a small dot of sauce. He made one wrap for each of my grandparents, as it's Korean culture to serve the seniors. Very courteous! He is also very good at bringing more side dishes and ingredients throughout your stay. We never had to ask once for more!

As if the meat itself was not enough, each serving comes with a bubbling hot pot of soup. The beef comes with a egg soup and the pork comes with a spicy tofu and potato soup. Below is a gif of the egg soup.
Bubbling hot Egg Soup
After all the meat was cleared off, the waiter came to ask how many servings of rice we wanted. It's good that he asks, as it would be a waste to make too much for people that are already 100% full. We ended up eating 4 servings of kimchi fried rice. The grilled kimchi is mixed with rice, black sesame seeds, seaweed, and sauce before being spread onto the hot plate and grilled until a crunchy layer of burnt rice is developed. That is the best part. It's very addicting to eat, which resulted in me being 120% full, ooph!
Kimchi Fried Rice
A small bottle of yogurt drink is given to each person with the bill. I remember drinking these as a kid. My mom would have to buy one pack for each of us because my brother and I would consume an entire pack in one seating. Not a good idea anymore, this tiny bottle is filled with bad sugars like corn syrup. But hey, this meal was already so unhealthy, another 2 oz of sugar won't make much of a difference, *winkwink*
Free Biofeel to end the meal
The total for filling seven people over-the-top full was about $130; my aunt said it was a good value. It may not be the most student-friendly place to eat, but maybe for a special get together. Seok Gi Si Dae provides a fun experience where everyone is occupied building their own food as they go. I also appreciate that it takes a good two hours to eat dinner; my family usually scarfs down our food way too fast. The extremely friendly service by all the owners and the tender meats will draw my family back for another meal. Just not anytime soon, or our arteries will actually become clogged.

Seok Gi Si Dae on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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