Thursday, November 8, 2012
Eatery - Byul Daepo Star BBQ (CA)
8295 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Korean, AYCE
I came to Star BBQ actually on my younger brother's recommendation because KBBQ is apparently the thing to do amongst his group of friends. He claimed that Star BBQ was the best of all the places he's tried so after an early evening of shooting archery with Duc, we wanted to feel carnivorous and devour huge loads of meat.
Like other Korean BBQ places, you get a choice of different AYCE options which vary slightly by price and options (basically, the more expensive, the more items on your list!). We opted for the cheaper option - Menu B - since it already had 17 items there and we didn't even know how many we'd get through. Of course, you get all the small side dishes along with your meal. I must say that overall, I was quite disappointed by the offerings as they weren't all too memorable (but not bad...please don't think they're bad). The salad dressing could have used a bit more oomph as could the other side dishes. I think the best of the selection was the mashed potato. Even the egg pot was bland!
So we went through three rounds of ordering meat, the first of which was their bulgogi, thinly sliced pork belly, and beef brisket. The bulgogi meat was tender but sadly, again, barely marinated and somewhat bland. The pork belly really could have done with some marinade even on the customer's side (like they do at Cham Sut Gol). The only perk was the beef brisket which overall seems hard to mess up anyhow; my only issue was that it could have been a little less lean just for flavor purposes. I know that less fat is better for my health but it had more texture than taste sometimes due to its leanness (do I sound picky yet?).
Round two consisted of chicken teriyaki, beef boneless short rib, and abomasum (cow stomach). The chicken teriyaki was actually fairly good but with every place like this where you cook your own food, chicken takes the longest to finish. It was juicy though and more flavorful than the beef meats. The short rib was too tough regardless of how long I kept it on the heat; I know that beef gets tough if you cook it too long but I don't think this was completely by my human error. As for the stomach, the seasonings were awesome but I, to be honest, just didn't know how to properly prepare it so we barely touched it save for a bite or two.
The last round had more beef brisket but also spicy pork belly. I actually thought the spicy pork belly was good save for it being very spicy (go Koreans!). However, at this point, we were both quite full so we unfortunately didn't get through all of the third round. I think the place could have used better ventilation systems as there wasn't an overhead vent like some KBBQ places install. Their dessert was from a soft-serve machine with frozen yogurt - the pineapple tart was delicious! Would I come back? I think there are better KBBQ places in OC K-town...but why the 3 stars overall? They did have excellent service and a large selection of meats to choose from.
Main photography by Duc Duong.