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Friday, September 26, 2008

Ssam Korean BBQ-Shik Do Rak-House of Duk Bo Sam-Irvine

14775 Jeffrey Rd
Ste H
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 653-7668

SSam Korean BBQ? Shik Do Rak? House of Duk Bo Sam? I'm not exactly sure what the name of this restaurant is, since I saw all of these names on and in the restaurant. The banner sign outside says SSAm Korean BBQ though. It's a temporary banner, so their permanent sign might be different. I'm pretty sure it's the only Korean BBQ place in Arbor Village Center off of Jeffrey and Walnut though.

My wife and I were invited out to dinner by her boss, "M" and her husband, "H". M & H picked the restaurant. I've driven past this place before, but have never given it a second look. To me, it was just another Asian restaurant in a shopping center full of Asian restaurants and stores.

We were seated at a large table with a hot grill in the middle. There were eight of us including H&M's kids and another couple. They brought a single menu to the table that was picked up by H. I never looked at it so I'm not sure of the variety and prices at this place. H ordered in Korean. Since I don't speak any Korean, I'm not exactly sure what he ordered.

Almost immediately, the waitress started bombarding our table with tons of tiny dishes containing a lot of unfamiliar things. The only thing I recognized was the kimchi. I was told that some of the items were rice paper, turnip paper, some kind of fish cake, a hot and spicy sauce, some pickled vegetables and a sesame, salt and pepper sauce.

Then the waitress brought the biggest bowl of frozen, raw, shaved beef that I have ever seen. It was like a Mongolian BBQ bowl on steroids! I started to think, "How are we going to eat all of that meat?" Before I could finish that thought though, the waitress pulled out another large plate of meat and dumped it on the grill on the middle of the table. That's a lot of meat!!! (Please hold back your "That's what he/she said!" jokes.) There were also large plates of green onions and mushrooms to grill up with the meat.

We grilled up the meat and slapped it into the turnip paper or rice paper. I preferred the rice paper. It kind of reminded me of a cooked won ton wrapper but a little stickier. We then dipped the meat and wrapper into the sauces. DELICIOUS! One sauce was basically sesame oil with salt and pepper in it. The other was a spicy puree of hot red peppers, garlic and vinegar. It had a very good spiciness level and a nice tangy flavor. I enjoyed dipping my meat into both of the sauces at the same time. (Don't say it.)

Halfway through our meal, the waitress brought a giant bowl of soup and a bunch of smaller bowls to serve it into. The soup looked like a bowl of bright red liquid with large chunks of fish and tofu in it. From what I understand, the main ingredients of the soup were kimchi and fish. The soup was interesting. It was a little too fishy for me though. We also got a little scared to eat it when M got a fish bone stuck in her throat. She was happily enjoying her soup when her eyes suddenly opened wide and started watering. She started drinking water, eating rice and eating various other things to try and force the fish bone down. She said, "I can feel it! It's like two inches long!" (Stop giggling!) It took a few minutes of what looked to be a very uncomfortable situation before she finally started to feel better. The chunks of fish in the soup had tons of bones sticking out of it. If you ever order this, make sure to eat it VERY carefully.

In the end there was actually a little meat left over. The eight of us couldn't finish it off. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meal, except for the whole "bone in the throat" incident. The meat was tender, juicy and delicious. This was a nice little restaurant with a broad range of clientele. I'll have to go back to this place and sample some of the other items on their menu.

Shik do Rak on Urbanspoon


Diamond Dog said...

I am going to try this place. H. recommended a place like this in Los Angeles to me and I went. This seems a lot closer.

Too bad M choked on a bone. I find the best thing to do when people are choking is to point at them and laugh.

Nice review. Very charged with penis references ;)

I am going to go eat a hot dog now, or maybe I will slip some meat into my mouth, and tonight maybe a BONE in fillet?

Chubbypanda said...

Hmm... Is the the new one that opened where Red Onion used to be? *sigh* I miss that restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I went to this place shortly after it opened. I've been to many Korean BBQ places, but this menu was almost incomprehensible to me. It really helps if you go with someone who speaks and reads Korean. We ended up asking our waiter for a suggestion and he suggested a combo meal for 2 (which I could not find on the menu). Two piles of meat (beef & pork), soup and sides. It was good but, honestly, I've had better. Most reviewers on Yelp say this place is very authentic, so maybe I'm just more used to westernized Korean BBQ.

Griffin said...

DD-Get your mind out of the gutter! There were no such references! :-)

Let me know your thoughts if you end up trying this place.

CP-I don't think this is where the Red Onion was, but I'm not sure. This is all the way at the end of the center across from East West bank. Wasn't Red Onion more toward the middle of the center?

Jumpcut-This place does seem pretty authentic. Thanks for the tip on the menu. I'll make sure to only go back here if someone speaks Korean.

elmomonster said...

I like this place! The only one in Irvine. Here's my experience (luckily I tried no fish, so no incidents involving bones).

Anonymous said...

I live near Irvine and wanted to check this place out. If you go back do you think you can post some prices as well? That meal look sooo delicious

Griffin said...

Elmo-One of these days I'll get to eat at a restaurant before you!

Anonymous-If I go back, I'll make sure to post prices. I'm not positive, but I think that everything we had that night added up to around $100.00. Not bad for dinner for 8