Showing posts with label Korean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korean. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2016

best thing i ate last week: banchan at Gabose Korean BBQ

Can someone explain to me why there is no good Korean BBQ in Miami? How is it possible, with a population of over 2.5 million in Miami-Dade County, that I have to drive across the county line to Broward to sate this particular craving?[1] Fortunately, Gabose Korean BBQ is only about an hour away, and we happened to already be heading in that direction this weekend.

I was too hungry and impatient to wait for one of the charcoal grill tables, so we let the kitchen do the cooking instead. The gochu pajun (a sort omelet / pancake hybrid like Japanese okonomiyaki) was generously studded with green onion and fresh chiles, a welcome recipe for bad breath. The daeji tofujigae, a spicy soup with tofu and slivered pork, came to the table ferociously bubbling, its broth redolent with Korean chile flakes. The marinated galbi was good as always; the haemul dolsot bibimbap, a rice dish studded with seafood and vegetables cooked in a blazing hot metal bowl, was actually a bit bland before we perked it up with a generous spoonful of gochujang.

But my favorite thing about a meal at Gabose may be the banchan, the little bowls of various pickled and preserved nibbles that accompany every meal. Here, there was a classic napa cabbage kimchi, slabs of some sort of mild-flavored jelly in  a sauce of soy, scallion and chile flakes; marinated seitan strips; bouncy little marinated mushrooms; a bright pink, tangy cabbage slaw; a potato salad generously dressed with Korean chile; and zucchini kimchi, more fresh and less funky than the cabbage version.

Is there a Michelin category for "worth a one-hour schlep"?

Gabose Korean BBQ
4991 N. University Drive, Lauderhill, Florida

[1] I guess I need to try Shilla Korean BBQ / Sushi Cafe out west of the Miami airport.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gabose Korean BBQ Restaurant - Lauderhill

Korean BBQ

On a certain level, I think we all agree with Beavis and Butthead: fire is cool.

But fire - in the form of table-top charcoal BBQ - is just one of the many things that are cool about Gabose, a Korean restaurant in Lauderhill.

I won't pretend to have "discovered" Gabose. Though it has no website and does little advertising, the place is not exactly a secret - it's been around for about ten years, and was featured a couple years ago on Check Please! I also won't be the one to vouch for its authenticity - I'll leave that to those who have, or claim, more expertise in such matters. But I will say this: Gabose is just about everything I hope for in a Korean BBQ restaurant.

Since it's difficult to find online, I've posted photographs of the menu here, as shaky and blurry as these iPhone pics may be; click on any picture to enlarge (there is also a full Japanese menu, but really, why bother?):

Gabose Menu #1Gabose Menu #2

Gabose Menu #3Gabose Menu #4

The menu starts with a list of nearly a dozen appetizers, several of which are variations on "jun" (also spelled "jeon"), a kind of savory pancake that can contain any number of different ingredients. The kimchee jun was flecked throughout with tangy fermented kimchee, the pancake thin and crisp-edged with a texture oddly but happily reminiscent of matzo brei, and served with a soy and vinegar sauce for dipping. It was a generous portion the size of a large dinner plate, cut into triangles for serving.


Friday, December 10, 2010

CSA Week 1 and its Uses - Part II

OK, so I've got some home-made kimchi that's been getting funky in the fridge for a few days. And I've decided that its mission in life is to ultimately become kimchi ramen. So far so good - except we need a lot more fixings for that ramen. Since I started with the Momofuku kimchi recipe, I decided to plow on ahead and make a version of the Momofuku ramen, and add some kimchi for extra punch. There would be some compromises along the way - no, I'm not making my own noodles,  and I can't easily source my own pork belly - but I was pretty happy with the end result.

kimchi ramen mise en place
the mise en place
First, a broth. The Momofuku ramen broth recipe is sort of a case study in building rich, meaty flavor: kombu, dried shiitakes, pork bones, bacon all get into the mix. It's also a long-term time commitment, needing about 8+ hours of simmering. It's worth it.

You start like a basic dashi, by putting a rinsed piece of kombu in a pot with water (3 qts.),[*] bringing it to a simmer and then steeping it for 10 minutes, then removing the kombu. The next step in the recipe is to add dried shiitakes, of which I had none, so I skipped that, and instead added chicken wings (2 lbs.)[**] and simmered for another hour. Meanwhile, turn the oven to 400º and roast some pork bones (~3 lbs.; I found neck bones at Publix that were perfect for the job) for an hour and a half, turning them after an hour to brown all over. Skim any froth or scum that rises to the top of the stock every once in a while.

I took the chicken out of the pot and added the pork bones, along with 1/2 lb. of bacon. I would have loved to have used Benton's bacon like David Chang recommends, but if I had Benton's bacon I'd be cooking it and eating it out of hand till it was all gone. Keep the broth simmering, and remove the bacon after 45 minutes, then let it simmer for another 6-7 hours. Yup. 6-7 hours. Up until the last hour of cooking, keep adding water if necessary to keep the bones covered. For the last 45 minutes, add scallions (1 bunch, roughly chopped), carrot (1, roughly chopped) and an onion (cut in half). Here's a handy trick: instead of leaving the stockpot on the stove and risking setting my house on fire if I left it, I put it in the oven at 225º, went out to dinner, and finished it off late that night. Strain through a chinois (or cheesecloth), cool and reserve.

Notwithstanding the use of pork bones, this is not a tonkotsu broth. It was rich, and intensely porky, but it didn't have that dense, milky quality, which I think may come from using marrow bones and/or cooking for an even longer time. But it was some good stuff nonetheless.

Speaking of pork, I needed to make some. I didn't have belly, but I could easily get shoulder, and there are few things as simple and delicious as the Momofuku "pork shoulder for ramen" recipe. Again, it just takes some time. The ingredient list: 1 pork shoulder (I used a bone-in shoulder that was about 5 lbs but you can use boneless); 1/4 cup salt; 1/4 sugar. Mix the salt and sugar, rub all over the pork, and let it sit for a night in the fridge. Pull it out, brush it off a bit, drain off the liquid, and cook it (in a relatively snug roasting pan) for 6 hours at 250º, basting every so often with the rendered fat. I actually started the temperature at 275º for an hour to get some browning happening, and then turned it down for the rest of the time. Let it rest for half an hour, then shred the meat with two forks. Done, and awesome.

(continued ...)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CSA Week 1 and Its Uses - Part I

Here in South Florida, as winter descends on the rest of the country, we enter our prime growing season, and the CSA I've joined (through Bee Heaven Farm) started up the week before last. My first experience with a CSA was last year, and I started the season with the ambitious goal of documenting my use of everything in each CSA box (you can see how that ended up). I've learned my lesson: often it's just not that interesting, and sometimes everything doesn't get used up. Which is embarrassing and lame. So this season I won't try to make this a regular topic, but instead maybe just an occasional feature.

CSA Week 1

Over at Redland Rambles, every Friday they give a preview of what is coming in the box the next day. Week 1 brought daikon radish, pak choy, green beans, "Japanese spinach" (a/k/a Savoy spinach?), dandelion greens, cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, parsley, and flowering thyme. I've been wanting to try to make a home-made kimchi for a while now, and decided that would be the fate of the daikon and pak choy.

Where better to start than the Momofuku cookbook for guidance?[*] Though Napa cabbage is the vegetable most typically used in kimchi, daikon is actually fairly common as well; indeed David Chang's book suggests substituting daikon for cabbage using the same recipe. The pak choy struck me as similar enough to Napa cabbage that it would work in the mix too.

I cubed the daikon in about 1/2" chunks (2 medium daikons) and sliced the pak choy in ribbons of about the same thickness. These were then aggressively seasoned with about 2tbsp each of salt and sugar, then sat overnight in the fridge.

daikon and pak choy

The next day I mixed up a paste of garlic, ginger, chile powder (1/2 cup),[**] fish sauce (1/4 cup), usukuchi soy sauce (1/4 cup), salted shrimp (2 tsp.) (more on this below), and sugar (1/2 cup). The Momofuku recipe called for a whopping 20 garlic cloves per one head of cabbage, which seemed a bit over the top, and I cut that in half. It also called for 20 "slices" of peeled fresh ginger - not knowing precisely what a "slice" is, I used an amount about equivalent to the garlic. Then some julienned carrot (1/2 cup) went in; I also threw in the CSA garlic chives, in lieu of scallions. The daikon and pak choy were then drained (they will throw off some water after being salted) and added to the mix. Here's the mise en place:

kimchi mise en place

and everything thrown together:

daikon & pak choy kimchi

(continued ...)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Return of the Truck Party - Dim Ssam a Gogo, Jefe's Original

The last time we mentioned a "truck party" here, it was a two-part taste test featuring the gastroPod and Latin Burger. That was more than half a year ago, and since then several more food trucks have started up operations in Miami. In fact, the twitter list of South Florida food trucks I've compiled now numbers more than twenty, though not all of those are in regular circulation (and conversely, there are others who shun contemporary social media such as Twitter in favor of - I don't know, paper cups and string?). As I mentioned Friday, several of the food trucks were gathered in Haulover Marina Park on Saturday for the South Florida Dragon Boat Festival, and I stopped by for some more samples. There was not much in the way of dragon boats actually racing when we were there at mid-day, but there was some good eating.

One of the newest trucks on the block is the Dim Ssäm à Gogo truck from Sakaya Kitchen. Chef Richard Hales has been doing a fantastic job at Sakaya putting out creative, vibrantly flavored, Korean-influenced food (my raves over his "Dim Ssam Brunch" and the regular menu have already appeared here), and the Dim Ssäm à Gogo takes that show on the road (I think I've now officially used up every corny "street"-related reference). On board, Chef Richard Hales is offering a nice short-form sampling of items from the restaurant menu, both some "greatest hits" (Korean Fried Chicken, Honey Orange Ribs) and a grab-bag of other creations.

Family Frod split some KFC, a "K-Dog," and some "Covered & Chunk'd Tots."

(continued ...)

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Cobaya in the Night Kitchen" at Sakaya Kitchen

"Did you ever hear of Micky, how he heard a racket in the night and shouted and fell through the dark..."

Forty guinea pigs were making a racket in the night at Sakaya Kitchen this past Saturday for our latest Cobaya dinner. There were a few reasons we decided to do a midnight dinner. First, we just wanted to do something different. Second, Sakaya's chef, Richard Hales, is working pretty much non-stop during regular hours, with Sakaya being open 11am - 10pm 7 days a week. Third, Sakaya may eventually be rolling out a late night service, so this was something of a dry run. Those who notice the posting schedule here know I'm usually up then anway, but I'm apparently not the only night owl: I was thrilled - and once again, grateful and humbled - that when a post went up on the Cobaya board which basically said nothing more than: "Midnight. Saturday April 24. $55," 60+ people said "Yes!"

We weren't able to accomodate all who wanted to come, but we did have our largest dinner yet. After a little game of musical chairs - we had to split one long communal table in two to squeeze everyone in - we sat down to seven courses at CobSakaya Kitchen.

I've seen all sorts of different menu formats, but this was the first one that had both footnotes[a] and relationship advice ("Dessert!?...Go home and have sex like the old days instead of blogging about food..."). I won't share with you how that dessert suggestion worked out, but I'll happily tell you about the rest of the meal. If you can't read that scratchy picture above, here is the menu:

"Cobaya in the Night Kitchen @Sak[1]aya Kitchen"
 April 24, 2010 Midnight

What you may already know...

Papa's Shrimp & Pork Filipino Egg Rolls, Fuji Vinegar

Pork Butt, House Cured & Roasted Boston Butt, House Pickle, Ssamjang Sweet Chili

Some new stuff for Cobaya...

Garlic'd Laughing Bird Shrimp, Chive Flower Soba Noodles

Bucket of Korean Fried Sweetbreads & Spicy Frog Legs, Local Baby Cucumber Blossom

"Chim Quay" Quail, Pig Skin "Tsitsaron," Chinese Broccoli

"Nuoc Mau" Pork Belly, Roasted Local Baby Carrots, Crispy Bone Marrow, Coconut Rice

Dessert!?...Go home and have sex like the old days instead of blogging about food...

Blue Point Oyster[2]


Wife Hales' Chocolate Chocolate Cookie Bag

[1]Cobaya Kitchen
[2]An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire

(continued ...)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sakaya Kitchen Dim Ssam Brunch - Midtown Miami

I wrote about my initial visit to Sakaya Kitchen about a month ago. Chef Richard Hales' focus on Korean flavors, organic ingredients, and reasonable prices all showed real promise. That promise is fulfilled, and then some, with Sakaya's "Dim Ssam" brunch, which was unveiled this weekend.

Sakaya Kitchen

While the restaurant is set up for counter service, Chef Hales has switched over to table service for the brunch, and has crafted a longer menu of smaller-portioned dishes that play on his contemporary Korean theme (thus, "Dim Ssam"). I was just about the first person knocking on the door a little after 11am this past Sunday to give it a try.

Dim Ssam Brunch Menu

Choosing was not easy. Fortunately, the prices are so reasonable that you can try a sampling of several items without breaking the bank. Everything I tried was excellent.

"Banchan" are a customary feature of Korean dining, a selection of little side dishes to accompany a meal. Different types of kimchi are typical, but usually there are a variety of other items as well. At Sakaya, ordering the banchan (for $5.99) brought seven dishes, including dried shredded cuttlefish ("ojinguh bokkeum"), bean sprouts dressed in sesame oil ("kongnamul"), tiny dried anchovies ("myulchi bokkeum"), pickled cucumbers, green bean kimchi, balloon flower root kimchi (a/k/a bellflower, or "doraji"), and marinated tofu.


Here are some closeups (note, by the way, that everything is served in disposable, recyclable dishes. I saw some kvatches when Sakaya first opened that the take-out boxes they were using for in-restaurant service were somewhat awkward; the dishes used for the "Dim Ssam" brunch were all perfectly serviceable):

dried cuttlefish
dried cuttlefish
dried anchovies
dried anchovies
balloon flower root kimchi
balloon flower root kimchi

These ranged from extremely pungent (the anchovies) to very spicy (the balloon flower root kimchi) to sweet-sour (the cucumber pickles) to sweet-spicy (the dried cuttlefish) to mild (the bean sprouts and tofu), and each with a different texture as well. It's a great way to wake up the palate and reinvigorate it between bites of heartier stuff. Just keep a beer close by.

With prices for just about everything at around $3 or under, I tried several of the menu items, starting with the Korean Pancake with Pork, Radish Kimchi and Ssamjang.

(continued ...)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sakaya Kitchen - Midtown Miami

It is not often that I am at a loss for what to have for dinner. Yet I found myself driving home from work this evening, knowing there was not much in the fridge to cook (yes, there are some pig trotters, but that's more of a project than a quick Tuesday night meal), pondering: "What's for dinner tonight?" Fortunately an idea occurred to me before I made it home to the near-empty fridge: Sakaya Kitchen, one of several new places that have recently opened in the Midtown Shops. (While the Five Guys next door has been open for some time, the Cheese Course and Sugarcane Raw Bar have finally come online after extended waits, and Mercadito is supposedly close).

photo via Sakaya Kitchen

Sakaya's setup looks like a fast food place, with a mostly open kitchen fronted by a long counter that has room for multiple cash registers (a sign either of unbridled optimism, or of a space that was originally built out for another tenant). But there aren't many fast food places where the menu is scrawled out daily on a chalkboard, where almost all the menu's components are made in-house, or where the menu brags about all-natural meats, organic dairy, and fresh produce. You may order at a counter, but this is real food.

When I visited, there were about a dozen items on the menu, plus a few things available by the piece or as side orders. The list is a bit of a pan-Asian hodgepodge with something of a Korean focus, playing in particular on flavors and dishes that David Chang has recently made ever so popular through his Momofuku empire - pork buns, Korean stye chicken wings, noodles with ginger scallion sauce. Which just happened to be what I ordered.

The pork buns were the standout of the group, 2 puffy clamshell buns filled with tender, meaty slabs of pork belly butt that had been slow-cooked for eight hours. The richness was cut by some thin-sliced cucumber pickles stuffed into the buns, along with a generous dollop of a sweet-ish ssamjang (Korean chile sauce). If I could have had my druthers, I would have taken the sticky-sweet-spicy sauce for the pork in a more spicy, less sweet direction, but these were some fine bites.

The Korean chicken wings can be had either by the piece ($4.69 for 6, $8.99 for 12, $14.99 for 20) or as a "combo" of six wings with jasmine rice, kimchi and more of those cucumber pickles ($7.45). The wings had been given a good long bath in a marinade redolent with kochujang (Korean chile paste), the flavor of which was infused throughout. It would be unfair of me to address the crispiness of the wings, as they had to travel 10 minutes in their take-out containers before I got home. I liked the rice, which was moist and just a bit pleasantly sticky, and generously sprinkled with fresh slivers of green onion. I also really liked their kimchi, which had a nice hint of that distinctive fermented, lactic tang.

The noodles, which came with cubed tofu and green beans, were a generous portion, but could have used a much more generous dollop of ginger-scallion sauce to perk them up. The green beans themselves also hadn't been seasoned and wanted some salt. With some minor tweaking I'm sure this could be a fine dish too.

Other items that intrigued included Angus beef bulgogi lettuce wraps, kimchi egg rolls (rolled fresh in house daily), and the promise of a "dim ssam" brunch menu coming soon. There's also about a half dozen sakes available by the bottle as well as a decent selection of Japanese beers.

Sakaya has only been open about a month and I'm sure is still tweaking the recipes and the menu. (My hope is that they turn up the bright spicy flavors even more. "Fortune favors the bold.") But even now it delivers good food at a good price that you can feel good about eating. Plus, it's conveniently located between my office and my house.

Sakaya Kitchen
Buena Vista Avenue btwn 34th & 36th Streets
Miami, FL 33127

Sakaya Kitchen on Urbanspoon