Barbecue and Banchan

For this week's Cafe review, I visited Korean Garden Grille with a dining companion who was more interested in the appetizers than the barbecue. I took the same dining companion to a little mom-and-pop eatery called Korean Diner because I figured the place would have her favorite Korean item -- seafood pancakes. Korean Diner is not the place to go for bulgogi, but the seafood pancake was top-notch and the soft tofu soup wasn't bad either. Korean Diner is located on Blalock just past H-Mart. It's only been open for six months, and it seems to be fairly popular at lunchtime.

But Korean Diner is not cheap. And the banchan is utterly lame. Along with some average kim chee and tasteless sprouts, we got one little bowl containing steamed broccoli and one with a boiled potato in it -- and both of them were covered with a bright red condiment that tasted remarkably similar to bad bottled barbecue sauce. In fact, I am willing to bet it was either Kraft or Hunt's. The experience made my companion appreciate what a bargain the $14 lunch and banchan buffet at Korean Garden Grille really is.

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