Kaya Grill & Sushi
4710 Reed Rd.
Columbus, OH 43220
It’s pretty hard to find a place in the midwestern United States that does Korean barbecue — the distinctive style of cooking raw meats on a hot element is something that is easy to embrace…once you’re already familiar with the process. So around here, it doesn’t have much of a following. But if you want an introduction on the idea, a good place to go would be Kaya Grill & Sushi, a Columbus spot that specializes in Korean and Japanese cooking. But the best thing to try in the restaurant has to be this unique way of eating, both for its rarity in this area and for the potential to really walk away satisfied you’ve had a great meal.
The Korean barbecue starts as meat served to you raw; you then cook it yourself on a hot grill built into the table itself. So, each dish is really up to you to cook to taste. Then it’s served with lettuce and banchan, or side dishes, so you can make your own lettuce wraps. Worth a try:
- Bulgogi: A favorite Korean dish, this marinated beef is probably my favorite thing to try. Cook it just well enough to get some of that wonderful marinade.
- Kalbi: Also known as beef short rib, these ribs are delightful for their nice sturdy cut of meat with just a bit of gristle for flavor. If you have a group, go for this, it’ll be a crowd pleaser.
- Beef tongue: It might be unsightly, but this meat has the potential to be tender and delightful. Just be sure you don’t leave it on the grill for more than a few seconds. When it gets overcooked, it gets chewy.
- Samgyeopsal: Thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat, this is good if it’s served with a group of people, because you’ll only want a few slices. It’s good with the peanut sauce, though.
- Chadol bagi: A thinly sliced brisket dish, this one is perfect with some of the sauces you can dip with the food. It’s especially good for the lettuce wraps.
The experience is one that you want to experience over a longer time. I visited during a lunch time, and again during a dinner time. The dinner experience was fun, but with the amount of time you want to spend on your Korean barbecue experience, it can be a bit too busy a time to really enjoy it. Maybe a long lunch would be a better experience.
The price on Korean barbecue is a little higher than is typical, but this is a very hard experience to have in this part of the country. It’s a must-try.
- Korean Barbecue is best as a group experience for several people. As far as when you want to do it, a lunch or mid-afternoon meal is good, but I don’t suggest dinner.
- The sushi isn’t as expensive and it’s better to do as a dinner experience.
- Make sure you pay close attention to cooking meat; some kinds cook fast, others slow.