Second Helpings: Korean

Second Helpings: Korean
Photo By John Anderson

Tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Mick Vann. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Many of these Korean restaurants offer sushi as well as traditional Korean dishes. (see Second Helpings: Sushi). Please note that the names of Korean dishes may differ due to phonetic translations.

Burger Tex II

2912 Guadalupe, 477-8433

Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm

You're probably wondering why we have a burger joint listed with the Korean spots but the reason is simple: This particular Burger Tex features a totally knock-out Bulgogi Burger on its menu. Paper thin slices of marinated beef, grilled, and piled high on a bun -- yummm (6oz., $3.19; 8oz., $3.99; combo with fries and a drink, $4.99). Plus, genuine Korean folks that are as nice as can be make the bulgogi.

Buffet Palace

1012 W. Anderson Ln., 459-2999

2601 S. I-35, Bldg. B, Ste. 200, 388-9600

Mon-Thu, 11am-9:30pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-10pm, Sun, 11:30am-9:30pm

This perennial, economical ($6.49 lunch, $8.99 dinner and weekends) favorite of the buffet'd masses is populated with many Korean items amongst the mix, and many of the rest have a decidedly Korean touch. Load up on zippy kim chi, bulgogi, Mandu Dumplings, Pa Jon Pancakes, and for the Wednesday night special, Galbi (Korean-style beef ribs). There's been a pleasant quality rise of late, but as with any buffet, it's freshest when it's busiest.

Emperor Garden

9515 N. Lamar, 339-1168

Mon-Fri, 11am-10pm; Sat, 5-10pm; Sun, noon-10pm

Emperor Garden does a righteous buffet with bountiful Korean items (along with Chinese) for weekday lunch, 11am-3:30pm ($4.99) and Saturday night and all day Sunday ($8.99). Emperor offers some unusual items, such as Yom-So Mu Chim (goat meat with mixed veggies) and Sam Gyeop Sal Bokeum (pork belly with kim chi and veggies) as well as all of the traditional menu goodies, and if you've never eaten goat or pork belly/fresh bacon, you should. Well worth the schlep up north.

Korea Garden

6519 N. Lamar, 302-3149

Mon-Fri, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10pm; Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun, noon-9pm

An undiscovered gem hidden in a nondescript Quonset hut. Beautifully composed and fabulous-tasting lunch specials for around five bucks and for dinner, large portions at excellent prices. Tasty treats like Seafood & Onion Pa Jon Pancakes, Fresh Bacon with Veggies in Hot Sauce, Spicy Codfish Stew, fantastic Yellow Corvina, tender and spicy squid -- we could go on and on. A hip, happening, homey spot with good, solid food at great prices.

Korea House & Sushi Bar

2700 W. Anderson Ln. #501, 458-2477

Mon-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm

Korea House has led the Korean food movement in Austin since the Seventies, and their quality has remained consistently high. They're the home of the popular cook-your-own tables for the bulgogi crowd, but they've got most of the standards too. A couple of unique treats found here: Yuk Hoi (a spicy Korean version of steak tartare) and Jang O Dub Bab (rice bowl with cooked eel and special eel sauce). Eel rocks! -- Give it a try.

Koreana Korean Grill & Sushi Bar

12196 N. MoPac, 835-8888

Daily, 5-10pm; and Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm,

Koreana is the most elegant of the Korean restaurants in town in terms of design and presentation, but it's also pricier than the rest. Koreana offers good assortments of accompanying panchan (pickled tidbits) which come with all Korean food. No meal should start here without the famous "Gleaming Mussel Feast" ($6.95) as the first course or end without the Plum Wine Ice Cream ($2.50). Koreana offers a complete Korean menu.

Oma's Kitchen

2021 Guadalupe (Dobie Mall), 472-8018

Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun, 4-8pm

Oma's Kitchen is a small spot in the Dobie Mall Food Court with an amazingly complete Korean menu at unbelievably great prices. Excellent Spicy Fried Pork & Kim Chi ($5.50), yummy Bindaedoek Mung Bean Pancakes ($1.79), nice Spicy Rice Cake ($3.99), and tender Spicy Squid ($5.50). Food court atmosphere, but beautiful, friendly folks dishing it out. Grab a bite before a movie, or for lunch or early dinner next to campus. More UT staff and students should try Oma's for a pleasant change.

Seoul Restaurant & D.K.'s Sushi Bar

6400 S. First, 326-5807

Mon-Fri, 11:30-9:30pm, Sat, 4:30-9:30pm

Seoul/D.K.'s is the only South Austin outlet for Korean food, and they've been satisfying their patrons for years in their cozy, strip center niche right next to Evita's. Delectable lunch specials weekdays from 11:30 to 2:30 for just under five bucks. Complete Korean standards on the regular menu. Try the Rock Bi Bim Bop (hot pot with veggies and beef), Whe Doub Bab (raw fish assortment over rice), or the spicy squid or octopus for something a little bit different.

Yen Ching Chinese Noodle House

2910 Guadalupe, 472-4754

Sun-Thu, 11am-9:30pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-10pm

A Chinese noodle house listed with the Korean joints? Yen Ching does some incredibly tasty homemade Korean noodle dishes in addition to the fine Chinese stuff they put out. Ask your friendly waitperson which items on the menu are the Korean versions -- they'll steer you in the right direction. P.S. Their spicy pork with bean curd is superb.

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