Friday, March 28, 2014

Bulgogi Brothers Spices Up Their Menu #7NewKoreanClassics

One of my favorite restaurants of The Bistro Group (aside from Village Tavern) is Bulgogi Brothers! I love this accessible Korean BBQ joint, with the Korean wines, the heart-shaped beef patties, and other dishes that are friendly to the non-Korean Western palate. But with the release of their 7 New Korean Classics, they've definitely taken it up a notch in the spice department - which is just the way I like it!

My foodie fambam and I met up at Bulgogi Brothers' Greenbelt branch to check out the new line up of dishes - everything from crunchy Korean fried chicken to the latest US-grade beef cuts one can cook (or have somebody else cook!) on the grill top.

Read more on The Bistro Group's other restaurants:
Going Japanese Casual at Watami
Bulgogi Brother's New Barbecue Specials
Modern Shanghai's Guide to the Xiao Long Bao
Yee-Haw for Tex-Mex at TGIFriday's
Spanish Iberico Pork Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu by Terazawa

This also happens to be my favorite and the very first branch of the Korean restaurant. Situated at Greenbelt 5, it's away from the loud establishments that line Greenbelt 2 and 3, allowing diners to enjoy their meal and the privacy. They also have tables outside on the balcony, so if you're one of those people who would figuratively say they would literally die without smoking a fag every five minutes, you want to definitely be surrounded by all that fresh air. So you can light one up in peace.

Bulgogi Brothers imports a lot of their wines and spirits directly from Korea, like the Black Raspberry Wine and soju. Also, they now have this super cute cocktail cart outside, entreating guests to try their sweet (but hella strong!) libations.

Dinner started off with their usual  complimentary appetizers - sweet corn and quail eggs! This used to come with a side of sweet potatoes as well, but they reinvented that carb into one of the banchan dishes.

Our banchan that night consisted of caramelized sweet potatoes, kimchi, dried anchovies, and kangkong. The kimchi was the first to go - I probably had around five more of these just to myself. Jericho finished off most of the kamote, and I picked at the dilis throughout most of the night. I don't think anyone paid attention to the kangkong.

First up on the list of new things at Bulgogi Brothers was the Crisp Chicken Wings (P350). This was sweet, salty, and crunchy all at the same time, with just a touch of heat. This was nice, although I wasn't too fond of the thick breading and thought this could use a little more of the sauce to make it lovely and sticky. Everyone loves a good sticky chicken!

I had been wondering why they don't serve tteok at this Korean restaurant. Personally, that was the only thing that was lacking in the menu. So I was pretty chuffed when the Spicy Rice Cakes (P125) were one of the 7 New Korean Classics. This dish has a nice amount of heat and is not for the faint of heart! Swimming in the tteokbokki sauce made with hot peppers are the cyclical rice cakes as well as thin triangles of fish cakes, ready for you to scoop up and enjoy.

Bulgogi Brothers' Spicy Cold Noodles (P225) uses the same hot pepper sauce in the tteokbokki and tosses it with buckwheat noodles to make the summer dish Naengmyeon. I find it ironic how Koreans beat the summer heat by eating spicy food - I just cannot wrap my head around it. These noodles are topped with hacked up butter lettuce, some sprouts, and slices of hard-boiled egg. Since this is served cold, the hotness of the dish isn't as searing of that of the rice cakes, but it can still pack a punch, so if you're sensitive to spice - beware.

I was apprehensive about trying the Ginseng Chicken Soup (P395). Ok, I was totally weirded out - it looked to strange sitting there in the broth all pale and sad looking. So I waited for someone else to try it first. Hehe... After working up the courage to take a sip of the soup, I was surprised that it tasted so much like our local tinola, with the only difference being it had a sweet aftertaste.

I was expecting their T-Bone Steak to be as thick as its American counterpart, and it was - but it was so thin! This is probably half a centimeter thick, which was quite disappointing, until they grilled this baby up and served it to us all cut up. You really appreciate the delicate taste and the seasoning that goes into flavoring the steak, and the meat itself was just really, really tender.

Before digging into the T-Bone Steak, we enjoyed Bulgogi Brother's Striploin and Boneless Short Ribs Combination (P995) first. This new platter also came with a few chuck rolls, and each cut of bovine had their own special marinade or seasoning.

I loved the grainy mouth feel of the striploin - sweet, juicy, and thick. Mmm... The chuck roll had the texture of sukiyaki, and was light and sopped up all the flavor of the simple sauce that came with it. The short ribs, on the other hand, were sweetened with a special marinade and didn't really need anything else. I liked wrapping this up in a lettuce leaf with a little bit of the kimchi before popping it in my mouth.

A personal favorite of mine is the L.A. Galbi Ribs (P595), and we had that in lieu of the short ribs for one platter.

It's almost artistic, how fluid the servers are when cooking your orders in front of you. It looks like a walk in the park when they do it, but whenever I give it a try I end up either burning it or leaving it grossly underdone. So I leave this part of Bulgogi Brothers' culinary experience to the experts.

I don't know if it's the marinade it comes in or because it's cooked with the bone in, but each gorgeous piece of galbi has so much flavor - I could have just this all day long with my banchan and be a pretty happy glutton camper.

To wind down the night, my foodie fambam and I all picked out our favorite Korean cold treat from the ever ready dessert basket. I went for the chocolate-covered ice pop, naturally. Jericho got the vanilla and red bean fish sandwich that I find totally weird, but he seemed to really enjoy it and savored every bite - with the matching closed eyes each time to boot!

When mucking around Greenbelt and looking for that spicy Korean somethin' somethin', check out Bulgogi Brothers and their 7 New Korean Classics. I find the oxymoron hilarious, but it did take a while for this international franchise to bring in their hotter, more traditional dishes. But I think they'll happily realize we Pinoys can take the heat!

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Bulgogi Brothers
+63 2 621 6216
3/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St.,
Legazpi Village, Makati
Open Daily: 10am - 10pm