Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Restaurant Review of Korean Town

Editor's Note: Three of the journalism students this fall, Brother William Petry, Brother Jorge Haro, and Luis Trujillo, completed the Unfamiliar Genre Project. This semester, each student focused on a different type of reviewing.  MAS Journalism is pleased to publish their final centerpiece reviews as well as their reflections on the process of working with the Unfamiliar Genre Project.

Thus far, MAS Journalism has also published the book review and final reflection of Brother William Petry, M.Sp.S.

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A Review of K Town by Brother Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S

K Town | ★★★ | Korean | $$ | 5450 SE 82nd Ave, Portland | (503) 444-7700 | Nov. 30, 2015

Part of my ministry as a Missionary of the Holy Spirit is getting to know the people that I am currently serving, and what a better place to share life stories than at the table.  Finding the right place where a true encounter may be possible is not always easy. Some restaurants these days are noisy and crowded. (I still have fresh in my mind the hour and a half that we had to wait to celebrate one of my brother’s birthdays). Fortunately, there are some restaurants where the basic elements to build up good relationships seem to converge. K Town Korean BBQ in Portland is one of these restaurants.

K Town Korean BBQ was opened to the public a few weeks ago and is close to St. Peter Catholic Church, where I am serving now. People were immediately attracted by the popularity of the Korean barbecue that has grown in the last years, becoming part of the well-established mosaic of cuisines in the United States. K Town followed the style that is part of the Korean barbecue tradition where diners prepare their own meal on a small grill integrated at the center of each table. Korean BBQ is all about community gathering around the table cooking and sharing laughs and stories. Each diner can grill a variety of famous Korean meats, especially two that are famous in Korean BBQ: bulgogi and galbi.

The word bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean and refers to thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef that have been previously marinated with a mixture of soy and sesame sauce. Onions, mushrooms, and other vegetables with salt and pepper may be part of this mixture too. The word galbi refers to the small cut marinated beef ribs.

In K Town, for a fixed price, bulgogi, galbi, and other varieties of meats are part of an all-you-can-eat menu. Everything is served fresh, nicely presented, and ready to be cooked. Unlimited side dishes like white rice, lettuce and vegetables are part of this menu too. However, there is an extra charge fee for leftovers, so be sure to ask for only what you need. There is a limit of four dishes per table. For those that are on their first time in a place like this, instructions might be difficult, especially if you don’t read the black board at the entrance, but never hesitate to ask your server questions. K Town staff is always friendly. 

The Korean tradition is to wrap the meat with rice in the lettuce to eat it, and you must allow others to serve your drink and refill it as a way of service and respect. Another Korean BBQ custom is not overcooking the meat, because for them, it is not the best way to eat it; so you have to be attentive while conversing with people.

Another star in Korean food is their soup. Like in many other Asian countries, soup is part of daily Korean gastronomy. K Town cannot be the exception.  I was surprised by the size of their pot of kimchi noodle soup. It was placed on the grill, and we were asked to wait another few minutes so that the soup would finish cooking. Shrimps, beef, tofu, a kind of sausage, and vegetables were perfectly mixed in a savory broth. The combination of these ingredients made a delicious and light flavor soup.  My only disenchantment was the noodles that seemed to be from one of those one-minute instant packages of soup.  One of my companions explained that, sadly for me, these kinds of noodles are normal in Korean restaurants.

K Town’s atmosphere is perfect for youth groups and young families. Modern Korean music fills the atmosphere. The only Korean song that I recognized was the PSY worldwide hit “Gangnam Style” projected in two wall flat TVs; its volume was at the right level. Their Shochu Wall and the modern Portland mural with a fox driving a bicycle surrounded by birds, cars and bridges, highlighting the “weirdness” of Portland, are important elements in the decoration of K Town. Every table has a non-corrosive steal fan, and because the grills are made of the same material, the accent on industrial decoration is even clearer. These elements of urban style, the music, and its industrial decoration make K Town a good place for young people.

K Town offers for drink a variety of sodas and beers. They also serve Korean drinks like Soju Jinro produced in South Korea, or Shochu, a beverage well-known in other Asian countries that originates from Japan. It contains 25% of alcohol by volume, so responsibility is a requirement.  Water is continually served. 

K Town staff is always ready to help. Their active service and friendly attitude helped me to enjoy every moment of our visit. Situated close to another Asian restaurants, K Town has a great challenge to accomplish. I am sure that by continuing offering great food quality and good service, K Town will have a brilliant future. 

K Town Korean BBQ | ★★★
5450 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97266
 (503) 444-7700
ktownkoreanbbq.com (under construction)

Recommended Dishes: All you can eat menu
Price: $$ (moderate)
Open: Daily from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Reservations: Not available at this moment
Wheelchair Access: Dining room and accessible restroom

What the Stars Mean: Ratings range from zero to four stars. Zero is poor, fair or satisfactory. One star, good. Two stars, very good. Three stars, excellent. Four stars, extraordinary.

More business info:
Delivery: No
Take-out: No
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Good For Dinner
Bike Parking: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
Good for Groups: Yes
Attire: Casual 

Outdoor Seating: No
Wi-Fi: No
Caters: No

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