Restaurant Review: 벼슬집 (Dak-Galbi)

The previous restaurant in this location, a steamed chicken place, shut down late last year for unknown reasons.  A shame because it was a tasty restaurant and also the location Uncle Jung chose to introduce us to the village when we first bought property here.  They also served some of the oldest and funkiest kimche around.

It’s a great location and the restaurant offers great views of the countryside so it’s not surprising they were able to quickly find a replacement.  The new owners fixed up the space a bit, including a new fluorescent orange roof, and tweaked the menu.  It maintained the chicken focus, but ditched the ubiquitous countryside steamed chicken (백숙) for a not-so-common Korean style of BBQ’d chicken, the ever popular spicy vegetable dak-galbi and a couple others local favorites.

We’ve been a few times since they opened.  The first thing you’ll notice is that the service is fast and friendly (the old spot was sloooooow).  They also were easily able to accommodate our large group of 15 as they have plenty of seating in the front and rear dining rooms.

Curiosity dictated our selection during our first visit.  BBQ chicken (숫불닭구이) isn’t something you see very often (ever?) on a menu so we couldn’t resist trying it.  The translation in English is extremely misleading as it looks and tastes very little like what you would expect when ordering BBQ chicken.  It comes out sizzling in its own juices on a stone plate.  There is a bit of browning as you might expect from charcoal, but the skin maintains a very chewy texture and the overall flavor is nothing similar to western BBQ.  Our group loved it, especially wrapped in some of the leafy greens and kimche it’s served with.  The chewy texture of the skin might be a bit surprising for some, but flavor-wise I think it’s on point.

“BBQ” chicken

During our next visit, with a bigger group, we got the dak-galbi as it’s a crowd-pleaser and made ordering easy.  Reviewing dak-galbi is tough because it can be found just about everywhere around the country and everyone knows “the best spot” to get it.  All in all it’s a pretty solid dak-galbi and goes well with cold beer and a group of friends.  And the fried rice they make after with all the leftover spicy goodness is absolutely delicious!

Chicken not your thing?  Plenty of other suggestions can be found here.