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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
8.5
7.5
$15
Korean
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:00am–9:30pm

Bar Beer, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.koreangrillaustin.com

Far North Austin
10901 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 339-0234
Korean Grill
Hot food and warm service from the Korean equivalent of a down-home diner

The women who run this place move from table to table making sure everyone is happy, referring to diners as “hon” and “sweetie” like a Korean version of Flo from Mel’s Diner. They might slide a dish of kimchi towards you and point at your bowl of seolleongtang (beef-bone stew), nodding encouragingly. Like Korean people do. Look, too, for the camouflaged Converse sneakers.

You’ll watch a flatscreen TV with the older man sitting by the register. Now and then, he goes out back to smoke, and the smell of the kitchen wafts in: marrowy beef broth, sizzling pork, and pickled vegetables. It may remind you of your grandparents’ house, whatever your cultural heritage. Everything comes with about 10 different banchan bowls, all for less than $10; each is a note of sweet, spicy, umami, bitter, or sour, and taken in certain combinations, they sing a complicated harmony.

Start with a thick seafood pancake loaded with scallops, squid, and scallions. Grilled items are a strong suit, tender yet charred. Also good is a spicy jjigae stew of soft tofu, toothsome squid, and plump, good-funky mussels—it opens up the sinuses without burning the tongue or obscuring the oceanic flavors. Milky-white seolleongtang has buttery beef, but the broth is bland on its own; add kimchi, radishes, and salt—let the nice lady show you how.

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