A few weeks back, after spending an afternoon at Dog Beach in OB, Adam and I decided we wanted Korean BBQ for dinner. We knew we were going to head on over to Convoy to a spot that Adam had been to before. I think it’s important to note that Adam’s former boss–who is a Korean chef that runs multiple high-end restaurants in Los Angeles (so he obviously knows food)–took Adam and all of his coworkers to this place, and he loves it.
I should also note that Korean barbecue is different. I’d never experienced Korean barbecue prior to moving to San Diego, and the first time I had it, Adam, his friend Brett (who is also from Connecticut), and I went to a different place on Convoy Street for dinner on Christmas Day. Sadly, none of us went home for the holiday, but we enjoyed our Christmas dinner nonetheless.
Korean barbecue consists of the restaurant providing raw meat, and you cooking it on a grill in the middle of your table. In addition, you get side dishes, such as kimchee and rice.
Mapo Korean BBQ
Ignore the website; it’s nothing special. Don’t let that deter you from going to this place.
There are many options at this restaurant, but I am reviewing the barbecue, as that is what we chose to eat. For $20, you get all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue and choose from two different menus. We opted for Menu B, which included everything from brisket to Italian sausage to assorted vegetables. We ended up selecting four meats: prime thin sliced beef brisket, sliced black pork belly, pork ribs and Italian sausage.
The marinade for the brisket must’ve been something special because honestly, the brisket was incredible. So, so good. The pork belly and ribs were also really flavorful. The Italian sausage was very good, but nothing special–it was exactly what you could buy at the store. I’d probably recommend going for something else that is unique to Korean barbecue. The second best part about all of these though, is that we were able to cook the meat to our liking. Adam likes his brisket a little more rare, and I liked mine cooked more thoroughly, and we could do that. And the best part about this place is that the meat was fresh, seasoned and marinated well, and really delicious.
Adam really loved the kimchee (which I don’t really like anywhere we go), I enjoyed the seaweed side, and we both loved the potato salad, rice, sauces they provided, and the salad. The dressing on the salad was light but delicious, and complemented the meat really well.
To drink, Adam enjoyed traditional Korean rice wine, and I drank Korean raspberry wine (the same kind I had on Christmas at a different place).
Service was good–they were all very friendly and attentive, and everything was brought out to us quickly.
Since going here, I’ve been to a couple of other Korean barbecue places in the Convoy area (including the wildly-popular Manna Korean BBQ) and I have to say, Mapo has hands-down been my favorite and undoubtedly offers the best brisket in San Diego.
Try it out – you won’t be disappointed!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in San Diego you think I should try? Let me know!