Originally, V & I planned to have a small BBQ at my place for July 4th long weekend. It was a fairly last minute plan so the BBQ pits were already all reserved. We ended up planning Korean BBQ instead, which is almost becoming a ritual. We had Korean BBQ the first New Year’s we spent together too!
So along w DK, NX & M, we tried out Han Sung. I read about Han Sung and how they use actual charcoal for their grills and that was a huge selling point.
We made reservations, not knowing how busy it would get. But it actually was such a large place that even with over 8 tables occupied, only 15% of the restaurant was filled.
There is also a semi private room for large parties.
Menu is very extensive, almost a tad overwhelming because I could not decide on what to order (other than the BBQ sets)
Lunch menu is about 2 pages long, with prices $2-$5 cheaper than dinner, with the more popular selections from their regular dinner menu.
Ban Chan (Complimentary)
This is the most variety if banchan I have received in any restaurant. My favourites were the spicy pickled cucumber, kimchi, fish cash and radish. Everything well was just ok.
We were also served nice fresh vegetables to eat with the BBQ meats.
I don’t usually utilise these, but DK enjoyed them all especially the Ssamjang (sauce made of a mix of soybean pasta, red pepper paste, garlic, onions and sugar).
Haemul Pajun $12.99
Seafood, egg & green onion pancake
I was quite speechless when I saw this pancake (not in a good way). Unlike the usual veggie and seafood laden crispy goodness, this was eggy, doughy, flat with random bits of veggies and barely any seafood. The batter tasted like my failed experiment at trying to make seafood pancake with ready mix box from the Korean grocery store.
Sul Rung Tang $9.99
Beef bone broth with noodles
I never ordered this dish before so am not sure what it is suppose to be like. Unlike Kalbi Tang, this was more milky, with clear vermicelli noodles and bits of beef. The beef was a little on the tough side, soup was bland (which was expected because this dish is to be seasoned w the salt & pepper to suit personal taste). Even after seasoning, I was not crazy about this, the beefy flavours were not rich enough making it a very very light soup with hints of green onions. Nice change from all the heavily marinated meat and side dishes but not something I would order again.
Hae Mul Soon Doo Bu $9.99
Soft tofu stew with seafood
I loved it when soft tofu stews are bubbling and at the verge of overflowing. The stew came with a good amount of random bits of seafood (clams, squid and a couple shrimps). Soup was fairly tasty, nothing mindblowing but a good bowl of soondobu.
2 orders of Combination #4 @$39.99 each
Marinated beef short ribs, Sliced rib eye, Squid, Shrimp & Salmon (1 order pictured above)
Marinated short ribs (Galbi)
Very disappointing. Extremely thin and measly two pieces of meat with small silver of bone. It was fatty and marinated lightly, delicious but was so skimpy.
Marinated rib eye (Bulgogi)
Marinated well, comes out to about 6 thinly sliced beef rib eye. Again skimpy!
Salmon & Squid
1 thin salmon filet with a drizzel of sweet marinate that does nothing for the fish. Salmon was fresh and tasted good. I didn’t care much for the one piece of squid. It was cleaned well and fresh though.
5 nicely butterflied, drizzled with a sweet sauce. Tasted amazing after grilling with the hint of charcoal and natural sweetness of the shrimp.
Overall, for $40 the combination platter was a huge disappointment, meat-wise.
Soon Doo Bu (Complimentary)
Soft tofu stew
It didn’t say on the menu that we get soup with the BBQ combinations, but this came to us last. Everyone enjoyed this stew better than the seafood version. It was packful with flavour and just a crap load of tofu (no meat of seafood). But the stock must have been some great blend of everything, or the soup has been stewing for a while since they serve this to all tables. I guess that must be why it was so rich, thick and delicious; with just the right amount of salt and heat.
Sweet Rice Drink (Complimentary)
Sweet, refreshing and a tad strange (but that’s just me)
Total Damage: $162 (including tax & tip)
Personal Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Good)
I have to say, the BBQ combinations were probably not the greatest deal, it is probably because of the seafood options. Maybe we would return and order single plates of meat. I chose not to include the banchan or soup into the value of the meal because regardless of which Korean restaurant you go to – banchans are expected. I picked this restaurant over our usual Palace BBQ Buffet because Palace no longer offers the Wang Galbi ( the thick bone in the centre and meat sliced thinly into a giant strip). But the galbi here was a disappointment. Difference between the commonly found cheaper LA Galbi and amazing Wang Galbi is best explained by Ciaran Hickey in this 10 Magazine article.
I was not aware that we get soup with our BBQ combinations, so we ended up with a LOT of soup. The surprisingly thing was, the free soup tasted the best and everyone enjoyed it the most (not because it is free).
Service was great. The ladies working there were friendly and accommodating. I asked for a refill of the fish cake banchan and she just cleared all the ones that look like they were running out and gave us a whole lot more. Big clean restaurant with great exchaust, so we did not leave smelling too badly of BBQ!
I would come back if I was craving a small meal of BBQ meats (and for the amazing tofu soup), but not if I was starving and want a crap load of meat satisfaction.
Han Sung BBQ
2644 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 246 7799