1450 Monument Blvd., Concord, CA | 925.680.9090 | website
It’s time to continue on with my lunchtime foraging out in coco county… there are quite a few Korean restaurants and so far, this is my favorite. It’s a little more expensive and the portions are not as generous as they are at Korea House, but I like the atmosphere of the restaurant (less chaotic) and the panchan selection is very generous.
The name BBQ Plus is a bit of a tease, because this is not the kind of Korean restaurant where you do your own grilling. But sometimes this is a good thing, it’s easier to just eat and not walk out of the place reeking of grilled meats for the rest of the day. Sometimes we like the reekage… BBQ Plus is tucked away behind Hankook Korean Market, a tiny Korean corner surrounded by sprawling strip malls and taquerias on Monument Blvd in Concord. The interior is bright and homey and we sat along the back wall inside of a cushy booth.
They bring out a multitude of banchan, small plates piled with potatoes that had been coated with a sticky sweet glaze over a crispy fried exterior, kimchee, fried fish cakes, pickled turnips, cucumber kimchee, pickled daikon dusted with chili powder
It’s all the good stuff: marinated bean sprouts, jap chae, pickled mustard greens, fried tofu with chili soy sauce, pickled cucumbers and daikon marinated with chili sauce. Each plate is sparkling with flavors, crunchy, squishy, spicy, sweet or tart… wonderful flavor bursts to round out the meal.
My last visit was with a larger group of 8, so we got even more stuff: crunchy broccoli mixed bits of water chestnuts and garlic and a creamy miso dressing.
julienned carrots, cucumbers pickled with chewy thick strands of seaweed
chili pepper infused strands of chewy pickled somethings
We started with Pajeon, lovely crispy scallion pancake appetizer, loaded with chewy bits of shellfish.
it is served with a soy sauce, sesame oil concoction laced with garlic, green onions and tongue numbing chili
I love ordering the Bibimbap, which is a mound of rice topped with a variety of sauteed and seasoned vegetables and meat topped with sesame oil that sizzles and sputters inside a hot stone bowl. I poured a pretty spiral over the fried egg on top with the squeeze bottle of gochujang or homemade chili sauce.
Then I mixed it up, being careful not to disturb my favorite part – the crunchy rice crust that forms against the sizzling hot stone bowl.
The Jap Chae, Vermicelli Noodles are delectably seasoned and filled with crisp vegetables and thin slices of tender marinated beef
We shared the wonderful Soondubu (tofu soup) which arrived in the hot ceramic bowl, bubbling like a witches brew and emitting puffs of fragrant aroma.
Next came the grilled plates, this is the chicken, which was mostly dark meat marinated in a garlicy soy mixture that is laced with green onion and sesame oil.
My favorite is the Kalbi, or beef short rib. Notice now the edges are caramelized and burnt… the fat content of the meat is seared in and each bite is juicy and delicious.
The grilled meats are accompanied with a plate of crisp lettuce leaves to roll around the meat, along with bowls of spicy fermented bean paste (Mr. K’s favorite) and slices of raw garlic and jalapeno peppers.
I like to tuck in some kimchee to brighten things up. There’s something satisfying about Korean food, this elemental flavor combination that is so stunning to my tastebuds, and there are so many compelling tastes and textures that I can’t wait to go back for more…
For dessert, our server dropped off a package of chilled bottles of some kind of yogurt flavored soft drink. It tasted a little like an orange creamsicle which no one liked very much. I’d rather get the refreshing sweet tea with rice floating in it, but I honestly think everyone was too stuffed to really care…