Restaurant Review: Bulgogi at Saraga International Market
Bulgogi, the eatery, set up shop inside of Saraga International Market this spring. Saraga makes a good spot to grow any upstart world eatery, it’s already renown for both its international grocery selection as well as its hosting duties for Momo Ghar. As for Bulgogi, it’s tucked inside the grocery store, near the checkouts. The restaurant has a formal set up, with a menu and a full kitchen along with a few dining tables and chairs.
And yes, Bulgogi, the restaurant, also serves Bulgogi, the entree.
But before we get to the Bulgogi (the entree), there are lots of other options on the menu to explore. For example, there is Gimbop ($6.99). Gimbop is something akin to a funky sushi roll. It’s funkiness comes mostly from the fact that deli meat, specifically turkey-ham, is included in its fillings, and there are lots of fillings: soft shreds of carrots, greater burdock (Google says that’s the little chunk of chewy root), “crab,” a bit of scrambled egg, and fishcake. It’s all centered in a circle of clotted rice banded by seaweed. With its array of colors and careful construction, Gimbop is lovely to behold, and the resulting mouthfuls are mildly pleasant and sorta weird all at the same time.
The Korean Fried Chicken is more than mildly pleasant. It’s not cheap ($21.99; a half order is only $11.99), but it delivers a lot of food for the price. The bone-in chicken is fried twice and presented in rounded shapes not usually identified in traditional chicken anatomy. Juicy meat also lies inside a glistening crackling crust that’s drenched in a delightfully aggressive sauce; it is at once sweet, salty, and super spicy. A soy garlic sauce on the side gilds the lily.
Conforming to traditional presentations, Bimbimbap ($9.99) delivers loads and loads of culinary adventure. Each in little piles, the order provides mildly marinated zucchini sliced wafer-thin, gently sautéed spinach, two kinds of sprouts, an egg (over easy), carrot matchsticks, and a tidy heap of meat. Guests can choose between chicken, pork or beef. The beef, in lean and savory chunks, works well in the mix.
And there’s Bulgogi at Bulgogi. That was probably expected. The menu offers both a traditional version made with ribeye, as well as a Pork Bulgogi ($11.99) for those who want to branch out. The pork is a good risk. When teamed with the sweet and salty bulgogi seasoning, pork delivers every bit as much joy as beef in the bulgogi formula. The kitchen adds enough green onion and vegetables to keep it interesting, and serves the dish with more clotted rice.
For seafood fans, there is a soup, Jjampong. It offers shockingly* fresh shrimp, with squid and shiny black muscles in a mix with bok choy and noodles.
The menu is modestly sized, but it branches into noodle dishes (both sweet potato and buckwheat) as well as dumplings too. You can find it inside of Saraga, and you can find Saraga at 1265 Morse Rd.
*On second thought, it shouldn’t be that shocking. Saraga has a pretty serious seafood department.
For more information, visit their Facebook page.