Wednesday, May 22, 2024 May 22, 2024
82° F Dallas, TX

Gen Korean BBQ House’s Colorful Take on Barbecue

The West Coast chain comes to Carrollton.

The first texas location of this West Coast chain, nestled in the Asian-themed Carrollton Town Center strip mall, is only two-thirds full on the night I visit. But it feels busier. Illuminated by electric-blue neon and soundtracked by blaring hip-hop and top-40 pop, the dining room buzzes with chatter and the sizzle of meats cooking on tabletop propane grills. Groups of friends squeeze into plush booths, and large families crowd around long tables, plates of raw chicken and fish landing in front of them. It’s a lively scene. Tiny white saucers filled with banchan are placed around our grill before we’re seated; we poke at assorted pickled vegetables with chopsticks as we wait for our menus. Our waiter arrives and explains the rules. Yes, there are rules: Gen Korean is all-you-can-eat ($16 for lunch, $25 for dinner), but those whose eyes get bigger than their stomachs will be charged $5 for every uneaten plate of meat. We start with the calamari steak dusted with green tea salt. A conversation leads to distraction and the end result is a rubbery, overcooked hunk of squid. We pay better attention to our beef bulgogi; the thick cuts of marinated prime chuck end up tender and cooked to perfection. The meats keep coming, along with sides of fresh vegetables, glass noodles, salad, and spicy rice cakes. We skip the macaron ice cream sandwiches in the cooler by the door on the way out.