Taegukgi Korean BBQ House , the new all you can eat (AYCE) Korean BBQ restaurant, recently opened.
Located in what will be the new location for Zion Market on Clairemont Mesa Blvd, I’ve been watching the progress for months, so when I saw that they had opened their doors for a soft opening, we made some quick adjustments in our schedule to check it out for dinner.
Following in the lines of Manna and Roadem, Taegukgi offers two menus, a $21.99 menu and a $25.99 premium menu that includes a few extra cuts of meat and seafood. There are also some other menu items you can order separately. You choose three meats at a time and when you finish, you can order more.
The set up seemed more old school, much like the design of the Korean BBQ places I’ve grown up with the in the Bay Area. The space is quite large, and it looks like Taegukgi will be able to hold and serve more customers than the very popular Manna which often has long lines.
As soon as we were seated, our complimentary banchan dishes, along with one serving of beef brisket was already brought out, even before we had ordered.
In addition to the cold dishes, each table can also order one steamed egg, one soybean stew, and one rice paper roll. I was surprised to see these limited to one per table.
Unfortunately, the steamed egg was quite bland. I prefer Manna’s version.
There was quite a few employees working the floor and one difference we noticed is that they all had tablets to take down your order electronically. One employee walked around with a cart of the different cold banchan dishes, offering refills.
The banchan dishes didn’t really stand out so there weren’t many we finished or wanted more of.
We tried to order one of each on the original list, though we had to skip a couple because we ran out of room. Here’s a few of our orders including bulgogi, finger rib meat, spicy squid and taegukgi pork ribs.
Like Manna and Roaden, from time to time an employee would come around and help grill our food for us. I’m not sure if it’s because they just opened, but this was done a lot more frequently on our visit to Taegukgi. We barely had to do any grilling ourselves, which is always nice.
Quality-wise, we felt the meat was on par with the meat we’ve eaten at Manna. We were quite happy with the service as well, as there was an endless number of employees constantly checking on us. The sides were the biggest disappointment, but then we didn’t really want to fill up on those anyway.
One thing I didn’t particularly like was the laser light show decorating the ceiling. It created a more party/bar atmosphere, but I found the flickering distracting. The restaurant was also quite loud, with flatscreen TV’s blaring. We also noticed that there are some late night options too.
With the new Zion planning to open this summer, I’m sure Taegukgi will be successful. I think it’s a good alternative to Manna too for those who don’t want to wait in those lines. We’ll be back to check on the progress.
Taegukgi Korean BBQ House
7655 CLAIREMONT MESA BLVD
SAN DIEGO, CA 92111