Soothe Your ‘Seoul’Cover Story Features
July 26, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
It’s time to fire up the grill — the yakiniku grill, that is — for a meat-filled dining adventure you won’t soon forget. Known as one of Hawaii’s premier places to barbecue Korean cuisine to perfection, Seoul Garden Yakiniku turns up the heat by offering the right combination of price, quality and location to its stream of devoted patrons.
Conveniently located near Ala Moana Center and Hawaii Convention Center on Kapiolani Boulevard, the restaurant sets the bar high for the authentic Korean dishes and ready-to-grill meats it serves up on a daily basis. In comparison to other dining establishments offering the same caliber of high-quality items, Seoul Garden leaves the competition behind by passing on excellent value to its customers.
“When you go to good restaurants, the minimum price for one person usually is over $50 or $60, but here, you come and pay around $30 to $40, and you get a really good meal,” says owner Yun Hee Im.
As carnivorous diners can confirm, the measure of a great yakiniku eatery lies in its meat selection. Since opening 12 years ago, Seoul Garden has prepared prime cuts with authentic marinades that lend incredible flavor when sizzled to sumptuousness on table-top grills. While the restaurant has long been known for its popular all-you-can-eat yakiniku sets — ranging in price from $19.95 to $29.95 and offering anywhere from five to nine different proteins to enjoy — Im reminds customers that they also may customize their dining experiences by ordering an array of specialty meats straight from the regular yakiniku menu.
Revel in the mild and delicate qualities of premium Beef Tongue ($23.95), or soak up succulent slabs of Mountain Tripe ($22.95). You also can’t go wrong with tender pieces of Short Rib ($24.95) and Inner Part of Short Rib ($24.95), which bring the most pleasure when given a nice char on the grill. Then, of course, there’s the sweet and savory flavors that bounce off marinated selections such as Seasoned Short Rib ($26.95), Beef Bulgogi ($22.95) and Boneless Chicken ($17.95). And to balance out the barbecue, seafood temptations like Roast Shrimp ($24.95) do the trick.
Im credits her experienced cook and kitchen staff for consistently executing prime menu items, while the owner’s attentive waitstaff is available to help novice yakiniku-goers learn the ropes of grilling. “I have had these employees working for me for a long time, over 10 years, and they’re really good,” shares Im.
Seoul Garden recently introduced two new menu items to its a la carte offerings, which flourish with stews, noodle dishes, soups, mixed rice entrees and more. Spicy Steamed Oxtail ($24.95) comes complete with a kick, presenting tender chunks of oxtail accompanied by Korean plum and pumpkin. And just in time to beat this summer heat, newly added Kim Chee Cold Somen ($9.95) refreshes with apple slices, kim chee, egg, daikon and noodles in a chilled, light broth.
To go along with all of its menu selections, Seoul Garden freshly prepares bold banchan to accompany every meal. Each petite bowl of kim chee, mushrooms, bean sprouts, marinated potatoes or what have you is just another way the eatery shows its appreciation to its customers and its commitment to offering value-packed dining experiences.
So the next time you find yourself nearby, visit this primely located eatery for a satiating meal that’s worth every penny — and then some!
Seoul Garden Yakiniku
1679 KAPIOLANI BLVD., HONOLULU
DAILY, 10 A.M.-MIDNIGHT