Drive down Culver towards Heritage Plaza and you'll notice national chains being replaced by specialty restaurants. When Elephant Bar closed, EMC Seafood claimed its place. When Denny's closed, the building was left vacant for a while--until recently. According to a sign in front of it, Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong--a Korean barbecue/barfood joint--will be opening up for business.
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The first thing you'll notice about the sign is the large print of a man on it (and around him: the most minuscule of fonts). That's Kang Ho-dong, a South Korean wrestler-turned-TV personality who happens to own chains in South Korea, California, New York, and Atlanta. He's the mascot of the restaurant--you'll see cartoon versions of him printed everywhere--but, as amusing as that detail is, it's not crucial as how beautifully marbled the meats are. And unlike Gen or All That Barbecue down the street, Baekjeong is not all-you-can-eat. Rather, you order specific meats or set-course dinners. The servers cook the meat for you on a tabletop grill with compartments for unmelted mozzarella cheese, corn, kimchi, onions, peppers, and a raw egg mixture that the server pours in. After the initial spectacle of the setup, debauchery ensues--just like what would happen at any other Korean barbecue joint.
The new Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong will be located at 14160 Culver Dr, Irvine.