Missing the sizzle of a grill on these chilly nights? For most Garden State residents during the winter, nothing sounds better than an outdoor barbecue. But what if you could indulge in a flaming grill, rich meats and vegetables, and a full group of friends without the bitter cold? At these restaurants, guests are provided all the means to an indoor barbecue event. Whether it’s a table for two or an entire party, this cuisine was designed to let patrons combine food and fun. So, if you’re looking to give your dinner the perfect sear, here’s a beginner’s guide to Korean BBQ in North Jersey.
What is Korean BBQ?
Dining can be a repetitive experience. While ordering your meal on the menu can be relaxing at times, there’s more to a delicious dinner than just eating. For curious foodies looking for a more rousing experience, Korean BBQ is the best choice. Loved by those within and outside the Korean community, this cuisine is centered around cooperation, experimentation, and camaraderie.
At the very center of every Korean BBQ table sits a large grill, a pair of scissors, and tongs. Once seated, guests can order any amount of meat (marinated or standard), vegetables, rice, and drinks from the menu. While most restaurants are all-you-can-eat, it’s best to order in waves rather than all at once. The food arrives raw, the grill ignites, and you’re ready to get cooking.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this cooking style—aside from the smokey, charred meat, fish and vegetables—is the sauce. Korean BBQ is notorious for its build-your-own-sauce bar, where experimentation and delicious combinations flourish. Mixtures like soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet chili and peanut sauce (not to mention garlic) create the best dips to elevate your meal.
A Beginner’s Guide to Korean BBQ in North Jersey
To experience all the harmony of a smokey grill and self-made chefs, here is a beginner’s guide to Korean BBQ in North Jersey.
The Cast Iron Pot – Fairview, NJ
Food isn’t everything. The atmosphere, the crowd, and the conversations are just three of the many ways The Cast Iron Pot elevates a typical dining experience. Mostly targeting a younger crowd, this modern, all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant combines Asian cuisine with the lively ambiance of a pub.
The Cast Iron Pot has two locations in Fairview, giving New Jersey residents plenty of space to light their grills. With an extensive menu, including marinated chicken, spicy chorizo, and beef bulgogi, the venue has enough variety for even the largest groups. Lunch and dinner menus offer huge portions, which you can wash down with dozens of flavored Sojus.
O2 K-BBQ – Guttenberg, NJ
The smokiness of Korean barbecue restaurants is central to the experience. Now, imagine that haze carrying the dazzling neon lights of O2 K-BBQ. A clean, minimalistic ambiance, this all-you-can-eat venue is wonderfully rich in interior design and food.
Guests can cook anything from kalbi tender steak to spicy pork ribs over an authentic, dome-top grill. Lunch and dinner menus include vegetarian options, as well as extensive smoothie, dessert, and drink options. Cool down your dinner with a berry fusion smoothie or try the popular mochi ice cream for the best experience.
So Good – Closter, NJ
At So Good, the name speaks for itself. This restaurant, located in Closter, merges upscale dining with Korean barbecue. Floor-to-ceiling windows open the interior, illuminated further by sleek chandeliers. At this venue, there’s as much to look at as there is to eat.
So Good offers the best pairings of flavors and specialty sauces—from large-portion menus with multiple cuts to smaller entrées like spiced squid and udon noodles. Guests can grill everything from marinated boneless pork ribs to beef teriyaki on the sleek charcoal grills for a range of charred, smoky flavors. Reservations are required for parties larger than five.
Butcher 360 – North Brunswick Township, NJ
For many venues, seating is limited. Keeping this in mind, Butcher 360 arranged the restaurant to incorporate as many diners as possible. With over 200 seats and 8,500-square-feet, Butcher 360 offers a huge dining area and private party room for guests. The rustic-meets-contemporary interior creates an appropriate atmosphere for grilling meat.
For lunch and dinner, the all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue menu includes a wide variety of entrées, appetizers, and drinks. With quality aged meats like sweet chorizo to fresh cuts like beef thin brisket, this is an excellent venue for steakhouse lovers. Pair your meal with popular sides like popcorn chicken and kimchi to truly elevate your plate.
Mr. BBQ – Englewood Cliffs, NJ
As more New Jersey residents experience the wonders of Korean barbecue, its popularity continues to flourish. Indulge in all its trendiness at the popular Mr. BBQ restaurant located in Englewood Cliffs. Perfect for larger groups, this modern eatery provides everything from sleek stainless grills to plush seats for comfort and connectivity.
A popular destination for all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, Mr. BBQ’s menu has something for everyone. Fish, pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp are just a few of the many options available on the menu. For an authentic meal, try their spicy rice cakes. To end things on a sweeter note, Mr. BBQ offers marshmallows on sticks to roast after an evening of grilling.
Obaltan BBQ – Fort Lee, NJ
When it comes to new dishes, authenticity makes all the difference. At Obaltan BBQ, the menu and atmosphere incorporate influences from traditional, homestyle Korean barbecue. A relaxed dining experience, this venue offers a great deal of creativity for cooking. Rather than simply using the grills to char meats and vegetables, one can simmer pots of noodles and soup above the flames for a breadth of new flavors.
Obatlan BBQ’s menu offers various combos, like beef and clam. Each combo includes egg souffle, beef stew, fried rice, and various cuts of meat. Try broiling seafood or diving into a bowl of udon noodles to appreciate the wide range of menu options. If you’re searching for a casual, authentic dining option, Obaltan BBQ is a popular choice.
Have you tried Korean BBQ in New Jersey? Tell us about your experience below!
Feature image courtesy of Manuel Silva