Earlier this week, I scooped Jin up from work in my Leaf and we had a lovely lunch date at Ssam Burger. While we did not have an opportunity to visit when the original owners were flipping the Asian patties, we are happy to report the restaurant is doing well under new management (as of March 2014). [Read more…]
When I told James we were going to eat Korean BBQ for a friend’s birthday dinner, he might have done a happy “bring on the meat” dance. Being a huge fan of red meat and grilling, he was beyond excited. Each day leading up to the outing would bring a new proclomation of joy and rapture until finally, the day had come.
Janet, the birthday girl, chose 678 (육칠팔), a relatively new Korean BBQ joint in Duluth. It was James’ and my first time there; we were not disappointed. (Oink!)
678 Korean BBQ Restaurant
3880 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
A chain restaurant from Korea, it was created by Gang Ho-Dong (강호동), a man of apparently many talents including sumo wrestling, acting, and making people laugh. (He’s a popular comedian and emcee in Korea.) You are immediately greeted by his chubby visage via large posters and signage upon entering the restaurant. Here’s a particularly entertaining clip of Ho-Dong getting beat up by hottie Hugh Jackman.
Hugh … yummy. Oh what? Where was I …
Each table top comes with a charcoal (not gas) grill to cook your choice meat right in front of you. Servers will come and man the grill for you but prepare to do some of your own grilling, especially when it gets busy. Grills are flanked by egg and scallions, cheese corn, red pepper soybean sprouts, and kimchi of course! Other side dishes (banchan) include an assortmeny of greens (red leaf, perilla, steam cabbage, green peppers, and cucumbers), lettuce salad, pickled radishes, raw sweet potatoes, and roasted soybean paste. Courses and all-you-can-eat options also come with complimentary soup and noodles.
Tip: The side dishes will be replenished as long as you keep asking the server for refills. So don’t be shy and ask for more! We may have gotten 4 or 5 refills … on everything. No shame.
A meal at 678 will set you back about $20-$30 bucks (excluding lunch specials). It’s a bit steeper than some other Korean BBQ establishments, but I felt like the quality of the meat, complimentary side dishes, and service we experienced justified the price point. If you’re looking for more affordable Korean BBQ options, you might want to try Iron Age down the street or Kimchi House on Buford Highway. I might give a slight edge to Honey Pig over 678 simply because I am a huge fan of the fried rice that they create for you at your table. However, 678’s complimentary kalgooksu (“knife” noodles) at the end of our meal was a near worthy adversary. And while I would never come with my two young children, 678 does have a separate play room just for kids!
So if you’re really hungry, really like meat, and want to have some kimchi with your bbq, give 678 a shot. Go with a few friends and bring some febreeze (you’ll need it after!) to experience it for yourself.
Where do you prefer to get your Korean BBQ fix in Atlanta?
Downtown Atlanta has no shortage of things to see and do. If one were really ambitious, one could start the day off early at the Georgia Aquarium (doors open at 9am Saturday!), venture next door to the World of Coke (don’t forget to try the Beverly), frolic through the water fountains at Centennial Olympic Park to work off some of the sugary high, take a tour at CNN (I might be more inclined to do this if Anderson Cooper actually filmed in Atlanta), and end with a ride on a Ferris wheel at night. Not that I would attempt to do all that in one day.
But often overlooked and unbeknownst to many, is the fact that in this very same area, is a modest deli with the best chicken tenders in all of Atlanta. Yes, there you have it. Park Avenue Deli & Market is the one establishment that you are forgetting to visit. Their hand-battered chicken tenders, which are fresh, never frozen, are reason enough to endure one-way streets and parking fees (or Marta) to come downtown. And after wading through the sea of tourists, kids, and traffic, who wouldn’t want to unwind with a deep fried delicacy?
Located across from Centennial Olympic Park in the same building as the Embassy Suites, it is the perfect spot for a quick and tasty meal in between your downtown excursions. It’s a family operated establishment (by the hardworking Songs) and has been around for over 10 years. In addition to your usual deli fare … Boar’s Head sandwiches and tasty soups … they have unexpected delicacies like their gyro (my second favorite go-to meal here after their chicken tenders and wings), which is loaded with juicy meat, fresh vegetables, and crazy amounts of feta cheese; their cucumber tomato salad; King of Pops; and new menu items like the Kwan Katsu. They are also planning to add some Korean inspired dishes like beef short ribs (갈비) and seasoned fried chicken (양념통닭) in the very near future. As if I don’t have a hard enough time deciding what to get!
Don’t believe me? Give it a try the next time you are at the Aquarium or Park and find out for yourself. Your tummy will thank you.
March 2014 UPDATE: Park Avenue Deli has officially changed their name to Kwan’s Deli and Korean Kitchen. Much more catchy and memorable!