Korean BBQ crushes culinary competition


Nathan Loeffler Malatesta '23

Bonchon’s amazing beef Bulgogi plate.


Review and photo by Nathan Loeffler Malatesta ’23

Bonchon, which means “hometown” in Korean, is a franchise brand whose roots are planted in South Korea. Thisrestaurant was founded in 2002 in Busan, South Korea; its popularity caused it to first spread to New York. Then, throughout the years, it has spread all throughout the country, with over 85 locations from coast to coast in the US.

I went to the closest Bonchon, located in South San Francisco, which features classic Korean BBQ items like Bulgogi, Buldak, and Dwaeji. On the other hand, it also has American- Korean hybrid dishes with their own spin on tacos, fried chicken, and wraps.

I chose to get a classic Korean Barbeque dish, Bulgogi. The Bulgogi plate is a mix of barbecued sirloin, onions, sesame seeds, scallops, and various spices all over white rice. I also decided to get a hybrid dish with Bonchon’s take on tacos.

The Bulgogi plate was excellent; the beef was perfectly cooked, the onions were soft and delectable, and the spices pulled the dish together, giving the mealitsgreatflavor.Thispaired delightfully with the free kamichi, a traditional Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables. Altogether it combined into a smokey, mouthwatering dish.

Additionally, this Korean restaurant also had great American-style food.

Their soft chicken tacos were incredible. These tacos, which contained chopped lettuce, coleslaw, buttermilk ranch, spicy mayo, and red onions, were perfect. The chicken was juicy, and the buttermilk, coleslaw, and spices combined to create a delicious taco.

In addition to the experience with the food, the Bonchon’s people were outstanding. The service was excellent; the servers were all friendly, considerate people. Another significant aspect of this restaurant is that the food only took 15 minutes from my order to the table, which was surprising, as they were pretty busy that day.

Overall, Bonchon was a great experience. The great food, warm environment, and great staff all come together, so if you are looking for a reliable, delectable Korean-American Hybrid restaurant, Bonchon is for you. All this being said, my final verdict of this restaurant is 5 out of 5 stars. The beef Bulgogi plate costs $21.50.

Go Go 7

Review and photo by Noah David ’22

Located just a few blocks away from our school, at 1300 Ocean Avenue, is Go Go 7, a small restaurant open from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., except on Monday and Tuesday, which specializes in simple, reasonably-priced Korean BBQ food for lunch and dinner.

However, do not let its tiny interior fool you, as the dishes are packed with big and enjoyable flavors.

Arriving around the 6 p.m. dinner rush on a Sunday afternoon, customers stuffed themselves between the walls like sardines as they waited to be seated or pick up their food, which resulted in a wait that felt like an eternity. Nonetheless, once seated, I was urgently met with ice water and a plethora of Banchan sides, from fresh vegetables to kicking kimchi, which served as an excellent appetizer for the main course.

Go Go 7’s tender spicy grilled chicken, over a bed of white rice. (Noah David ’22 )

After grazing their minimalist menu, I ordered their Bulgogi (MarinatedBeef)andSpicyGrilled Chicken Plate with Rice, which did not disappoint. First touching upon the Bulgogi, its tenderness and slight sweetness were perfect matches to this entree. However, the meat was slightly dry, making it occasionally tougher to chew.

Shifting to its partner in the dance, the Spicy Grilled Chicken was my personal favorite of the duo. While its tenderness was exquisite, the spicy kick was the true highlight, as it was neither too hot nor bland.

Above all, establishment truly shines in its surplus portions served to patrons, as I was able to turn this meal into my lunch for the following day. These two wonderful Korean BBQ staples together on top of a fluffy, white rice cloud are unbeatable, and I highly recommend trying this dish out.

Closing this review out, I was very pleased by my experience at Go Go 7. Despite considerable wait times during rush hour and slight dryness to the Bulgogi, the hardy portions and terrific tastes outshine the minor negatives. I will definitely revisit this location soon, and I recommend you do so.

Bart Grocery

Review and photo by Grayson Solomon ’22

Located right off John Daly Blvd in Daly City is Bart Grocery, a small, humble bodega- style grocery/convenience store. They sell your usual convenience store items such as refrigerated beverages, chips, candy, and other snacks you’d expect to find in a neighborhood family-run grocery store. However, instead of the usual deli you might find, you can expect a fully functioning Korean BBQ kitchen located just next to the checkout counter.

At Bart Grocery, you can get several different plates of Korean BBQ favorites you can find at any Korean BBQ restaurant. From marinated chicken, beef short ribs, spicy pork ribs, and bulgogi to sides like japchae, rice, and of course, kimchi.

As I have already had their meals before, I ordered my usual, a BBQ plate with beef bulgogi and Korean marinated meat, as my main entree with a side of japchae, glass noodles, over a bed of white rice. I grabbed a water bottle and placed my order at the main counter, and waited for about 10 minutes until I heard my name get called from inside the store.

Bart Grocery’s delicious beef BBQ plate with a side of glass noodles all over white rice. (Grayson Solomon ’22)

I received a generous-sized takeout box within a plastic grocery bag. Inside was my food, ready to be feasted upon. I took little to no time to dig right in.

I first went to try the japchae, which was a massive portion of my meal. As their nickname suggests, they look like glass noodles and were slimy, but had little to no taste, in my opinion. However, they were not that bad and served as a good side, but they did give me a bit too much. But hey, you can’t complain when it comes to generous portion sizes.

Then I went straight in for the beef bulgogi. The beef was really juicy and full of flavor. It was so tasty! It was also mixed with vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, some onions, and peppers. The sticky rice that laidbeneath the rest of the food was good and was made just how I like it. There was so much food I had to finish it in two sittings! Really good for about $14.

The main takeaway from this meal was how authentic and home-cooked the food felt. It felt like someone’s mom, or grandma had invited me over and fixed me a plate. The portions were huge, and the food tasted great, especially the beef bulgogi, which was the highlight of the meal.

If you are looking for a good comfort Korean BBQ meal and need to get some snacks or drinks, Bart Grocery will definitely have your back. Out of 5 stars, I rate the meal a 5 and will definitely recommend it for anyone to try.


Review and photo by Angelina Ning ’23

잘 먹겠습니다! (means: thank you for the meal/food, pronounced: “jal meokkesseumnida”).

Located in Japantown at the Japan Center Kinokuniya building, is the all you can eat Korean barbeque joint, Beque. 

Beque has an affordable price range of $23 (lunch) to $29 (dinner) for all-you can eat Korean barbecue. Unlike other Korean restaurants, you can grill the meat yourself right on your table. Servers come and switch out the grills every so often during your meal.

We ordered beef bulgogi, pork belly, BBQ chicken, and garlic chicken. The meal comes with 반찬 (side dishes, pronounced: banchan) including kimchi, fish cakes, seasoned bean sprouts, and other cold small appetizers. The meats also come with lettuce wraps so customers can make 쌈밥 (ssambap), which is a lettuce wrap with meat, rice, kimchi, and ssamjang sauce.

The beef bulgogi comes pre-seasoned so all customers have to do is grill it. (Angelina Ning ’23 )

The beef bulgogi is my favorite of their meats. It comes pre-seasoned so all we needed to do was grill it. The seasoning is a bit salty yet tangy and the meat was very tender. It tastes good on its own but also goes well with rice and the cheese fondue condiment. Although the cheese fondue condiment tasted good with the meat, it was actually a pain to maintain the fondue-ness of it and eventually it deteriorated with the oil and cheese separating. 

The pork belly was the easiest to cook and smelled the best. The meat comes thickly sliced but unseasoned, which is great for ssambap and/or dipping into their side sauces. It was also very tender but I figured it paired better with other things than just on its own.


The two chicken dishes came similarly seasoned, so I couldn’t taste much of a difference. The meat came thickly sliced and in way bigger pieces than the other two. All in all it was a very mid meat to order, great for playing it safe.

 I would rate Beque a 5/5, please check it out!