Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Restaurant Review: Honey Pig

I've been meaning to try out one of Gwinnett's many Korean BBQ joints for ages, but something always keeps us from making the trek. That finally changed this week when my darling hubby found the best deal on a our new Blu-ray at the Gwinnett Place Fry's. Perfect excuse for dinner at a far flung location, right?

So Honey Pig on Monday night it was. I always envisioned this place being a total hole in the wall Asian joint, a la Buford Highway. Turns out I was way off base. The space is open and industrial in a trendy, could find this in the hippest intown neighborhoods kind of way. It definitely has a stylish interior that would make it appropriate for special occasion dining, like a fun Korean style birthday bash.

Mr. AT and I were pretty clueless about how things work at a Korean BBQ, but our gracious waiter told us to just relax and eat and he'd guide us. We picked the namesake Honey Pig (pork belly) and bulgogi (marinated beef). I had read that some people find Korean food expensive because you in fact need more than 2 meat portions per person, but in our case, this was more than enough food, and in fact we couldn't even finish it all.

Once you've chosen your meat, your work is done. The waiter places some of the raw meat on the grill in front of you as well as bean sprouts and kimchee. You also get a variety of accoutrement - soybean and chili paste, raw garlic, cold kimchee soup, and scallion salad as well as rice cake sheets, daikon sheets, and lettuce leaves for making little Korean tacos. If you're going to try a new cuisine, it's a pretty sweet deal to just have to make one simple choice (the meat) and get everything else just served up with it! The meat grills, and then the rest is up to you. Take things off and make up little wraps when you're ready.

Of course with all that cooking for yourself, you get awfully smelly, so definitely don't go wearing your dry clean only clothes! Much like the trips to Benihana I so loved as a child, this kind of interactive cooking is a lot of fun. I enjoyed my little self-made Korean tacos, but some combinations were better than others. I found the honey pig a little blander than I'd have liked, but add on enough soybean paste, sesame oil and kimchee, and those little piggies were more much more compelling. For me the tender little slices of bulgogi actually the stars of the show as they packed more flavor punch on their own.

Ultimately Honey Pig for me was much more about the experience as a whole, rather than any specific dish knocking my socks off. It's a greasy, smoky, very fun mess and totally the kind of place I'll head back with friends. And for $50 we got more food than we could eat and two glasses of wine (which goes surprisingly well with honey pig and kimchee!), so in my book it was a pretty darn good deal, too!

Pros: Unexpectedly hip decor, helpful staff, fun experience, tasty bulgogi and plentiful food
Cons: You will stink when you leave, very hands on so not for those afraid to get their hands dirty!

Honey Pig
3473 Old Norcross Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 476-9292

Honey Pig on Urbanspoon



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