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A Seamless ‘Seoul’-ution for Drizzly Days

Cover Story

October 29, 2017

Story By: Kelli Shiroma |

Beef & Webfoot Octopus Pot Stew ($49.95). LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTO

As the weather cools down and the rainy season sets in, that can only mean one thing — a trip to the nearest yakiniku grill is in order. But, others might claim that shabu shabu provides the perfect solution for comfort food cravings.

Fortunately, at Seoul Garden Yakiniku, you can have the best of both worlds. The eatery — located on Kapiolani Boulevard, close to Hawaii Convention Center and Ala Moana Center — offers diners a tantalizing selection of meat, along with stews, soups and other traditional Korean fare.

Seoul Garden is located on Kapiolani Boulevard, near Ala Moana Center.

With all the recent rainy weather, the restaurant’s stews and soups have become more popular, according to owner Yun Hee Im. She states Beef & Webfoot Octopus Pot Stew ($49.95), in particular, is a customer favorite.

“The pot stews serve two people,” Im explains. “This dish features an all-short-arm octopus, which is soft and tender. The octopus is not super spicy; it’s at a medium heat.”

Seoul Garden’s interior

Im advises customers to pour some of the flavorful broth into the outer rim, while loading the meats and vegetables into the center of the grill (see photo below). She says the dish is best enjoyed in this manner, as the marinated meat — and savory soup — achieves maximum flavor.

“Put the soup in first, then add everything else in the center,” she confirms. “You just eat as you go. People love to cook their own food, then eat it.”

A selection of mouthwatering meats to fire up yakiniku-style at the table

This unique grill-within-a-soup-pot setup makes Seoul Garden stand out from other restaurants. It’s a modern yakiniku-meets-shabu-shabu hybrid — as diners cook the meats on the grill, the mouthwatering juices drip down into the surrounding soup to create an umami broth.

Seoul Garden also offers an unparalleled selection of dishes customers can grill and boil from the comfort of their own tables. In terms of popular yakiniku selections, Bulgogi ($25.95), Rib Eye ($27.95), Pork Belly ($23.95) and Marinated Short Ribs ($29.95) are customer favorites. There are numerous pot stews to choose from — in addition to the Beef & Webfoot Octopus option — such as Seafood Pot Stew ($49.95), Kimchi Pot Stew ($49.95) and more.

The restaurant’s hybrid yakiniku and shabu shabu grill

Additionally, Seoul Garden offers an extensive array of stir-fried options (ranging from pork bulgogi with cabbage and rice to stir-fried squid with noodles), dinner specials and lunch specials (available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), in which you get the most bang for your buck. One of the popular lunch specials is Stone Pot Rice and Bulgogi + Soup ($16.95). Simply mix together the vibrant vegetable medley — cucumbers, shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts and carrots — with the marinated, thinly sliced beef and raw egg, which cooks almost instantly, thanks to the heat from the hot stone pot and warm white rice. Then, choose a soup from the available selection to finish off your meal.

Whether you visit Seoul Garden for lunch or dinner, the restaurant is the ultimate destination for group gatherings. Parking is available in front of the eatery, and the spacious tables give dining parties ample room to spread out and fire up the grill.

Stone Pot Rice and Bulgogi + Soup lunch special ($16.95). FILE PHOTOS

SERIOUS ABOUT SIDES

Ban chan — Korean side dishes — is an essential part of Korean cuisine, and Seoul Garden offers an extensive assortment of these indispensable accompaniments. While kimchee is the most traditional side dish, this eatery features a different selection of ban chan daily. During Dining Out’s visit, Seoul Garden’s ban chan line-up included daikon kimchee, bean sprouts, broccoli and daikon.

A TWIST ON TAKO

Beef & Webfoot Octopus Pot Stew ($49.95) is a customer favorite, Im says. It features a heaping platter of meat and webfoot octopus, as well as rice noodles and a smorgasbord of veggies — including green and white onions, carrots and enoki mushrooms. Im instructs diners to first pour the flavorful broth into the outer rim, then add the meats and veggies to the grill. The end result: a delicious flavor combo that keeps customers coming back for more.

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