Char- Korean Bar & Grill

December 18, 2017

I've recently been on the hunt for a good Korean bbq restaurant and I think I've finally come across one that isn't a lifetime and a half away from me. 

Last night I visited Char- Korean Bar & Grill in Atlanta to see what all the fuss was about. Based on their online reviews, my expectations were a bit high, especially since their prices are a bit steep, and I've got to admit, they did not disappoint.

To keep things nice and simple, we ordered the Kim Jung-Nam combo. It came with marinated short rib – 3oz, bulgogi – 3oz, brisket – 3oz, pork belly – 3oz, spicy pork – 3oz, garlic flank- 3oz and unlimited premium Banchan (rice and a separate side of kimchi were also complimentary).

We were also given a side of green onions and perilla leaves- for making little "wraps" with your cooked meat and condiments. I thought this combo was perfect for us; you get just enough to leave you quite satisfied, but if you have a much bigger appetite, you might want to order one of their combos offering 6oz portions. 

Out of all the meats that came in our combo, my favourites were the pork belly and spicy pork. I'm not even the biggest fan of meat generally, but I really enjoyed the flavour of the pork, especially when paired with a bit of kimchi and the pickled beets (ughhh the pickled beets were my absolute favourite off of the Banchan platter!). 

The marinated short rib was also quite good, while the other meats were pretty standard in my opinion. I think if you opt for individual portions, instead of their combo meals, then you should probably stick to the marinated meats because they have so much more flavour. I found the non-marinated options in our combo to be quite bland, but I guess that's where your kimchi and Banchan platter come in handy- the pickled beets in particular because they had an enjoyable (slight) sweetness, it really enhanced every bite.

For dessert, we chose their Molten Lava Cake with vanilla ice-cream and macha powder. The chocolate cake was absolutely delicious- rich (without being heavy) and fluffy, perfectly sweetened with warm liquid chocolate oozing from the center. And I am typically not a fan of chocolate cakes or ice-creams, but this lava cake was divine. I thought the vanilla ice-cream tasted like Häagen-Dazs', and I don't recall the waiter saying their ice-cream is made in house, so it may very well be store bought. But I love Häagen-Dazs' vanilla ice-cream, so I enjoyed it (lol). The matcha powder I felt was a bit unnecessary. It just got stuck in my throat and made me cough. It seemed a bit out of place in this dessert, but I guess because it is a Korean restaurant, they wanted to have that Asian element on the plate. It would perhaps be better suited incorporated into the lava cake recipe, but what do I know!

I think overall, with such great service and pretty tasty food, you can't go wrong. But there are so many great Korean bbq-style restaurants out there, and many that are more affordable than Char, with even tastier dishes, so I wouldn't label this as the premium destination for this style of cuisine. Sure their prices are higher because they offer fresh "premium" ingredients, but I honestly could NOT tell the difference in the quality of their meat compared to their competition, if you blindfolded me.

Ambience: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5
Value: 3.5/5

- Would I dine there again?
Sure! But it's not about to be labeled my "go-to" Korean bbq spot.

- Things I enjoyed?
Location- relative to me
Excellent service
I want to purchase a jar of their pickled beets!


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