Tuesday, February 27, 2007

wooden charcoal barbecue house

dinner at wooden charcoal bbq house.  from left: bahnchan (or banchan), kalbi (or galbee) and chap jaeKorean BBQ is refined cuisine. Lots of meats and just enough vegetables to create the illusion that the meal is healthy. Sadly, good Korean BBQ is hard to find in the Bay Area, but one reliable option is Wooden Charcoal Barbecue House on Geary in San Francisco. Brad and I have been going for many years, and Saturday night Christie and Lisette joined us for a mini-feast.

WCBH is a no-frills establishment. A large refrigerated case at the front hold bottles of OB beer, and the smallish restaurant is filled with tables with (not so powerful) vent hoods. It is safe to say that no one goes for the décor. The food, on the other hand…

Dinner starts with flavorful bahnchan (9 types). The sprouts and cucumbers are crispy and the kimchi and daikon are well-marinated. WCBH also serves salad and spicy tofu soup. Don’t worry, the soft tofu isn’t that spicy.

As you would guess from the pictures, we ordered chap jae, but the key to any Korean BBQ meal is the beef. We tried the bulgogi (thin sirloin) and kalbi (short ribs). At WCBH both are marinated and you cook over extremely hot charcoal. It is smokier this way but it is authentic. I like the bulgogi, but it is too thin to stand up to the high heat. The thick and fatty kalbi is the way to go. Excellent flavor - not quite good as Chosun Galbee but much more convenient than driving to LA.

WCBH: 4611 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA (415) 751-6336