Table Talk: Quality fresh meats intended to raise Don Pocha Korean barbecue restaurant a cut above
When Jo Chong decided to open a Korean barbecue restaurant, he was determined to make it a memorable experience.
It didn’t hurt that his future venture was next door to his other restaurant, Poong Mei, which serves Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine at 4720 Reed Road in Upper Arlington.
Chong recently opened Don Pocha – the former meaning pork in Mandarin and the latter meaning street food in Korean – at 4710 Reed Road, which has been home to a slew of restaurants, most notably Kaya Grill & Sushi, which was a longtime occupant.
Dining tables in the space already were outfitted with inset grills, necessary for the Korean barbecue style of cooking.
“This (space) was a first choice,” Poong said. “I didn’t need to get a new (grilling) system. It’s an easy operation. I can jump back and forth” between Don Pocha and Poong Mei.
Chong said he had made only small changes to the space, which already was warm and fit for the Korean barbecue experience. The interior seats about 60.
Chong said the experience starts with most of the meats cut by hand and pork dry-aged for three days.
Korean barbecue largely is a communal affair, with raw meats, shrimp and a few raw vegetables cooked tableside by guests. The main ingredients are paired with an assortment of mostly pickled side dishes – called bon chon – and dipping sauces.
Chong emphasizes freshness and quality in his ingredients.
“They can come and cook it whatever temperature they want, medium, medium well,” Chong said. “They can have fun.”
Those who don’t want to cook their bulgogi (marinated steak or pork), kalbi (sweet marinated short rib), spicy pork or similar dishes can have them prepared in the kitchen.
The menu is full of other traditional choices, such as stews, soups, hot pot, bulgogi, savory pancakes and starters, an intriguing version of which is called Crazy Squid Hair – shredded squid, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a spicy dipping sauce.
Hours of operation are noon to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays; the restaurant is closed Tuesdays.
For more information, call 614-459-9292.
Central Ohio’s second Kitchen Social is prepping for a late summer opening in Dublin’s Bridge Park.
The restaurant, known for its scratch-made tavern fare and specialty cocktails, will occupy 5,420 square feet of interior space and 696 square feet of patio space at 6791 Longshore St. in the northwest section of the development.
The original Kitchen Social opened in late 2019 at 8954 Lyra Drive in Columbus near Polaris Fashion Place.