Dave’s View: Want a true food adventure? Mama’s Korean Restaurant on Pendleton Pike on the East side of Indianapolis will help you fulfill your undertaking. When you first walk into the place, they ask you, “You want Bar-B-Q?”
Sure why not?
I don’t know what I am doing, just follow Andrea off a cliff.
The waiter sat us down at the table with what look like a typical burner and I kept on asking myself, “Where’s the gas for this thing?” I didn’t see any hoses or anything. There’s a brass knob next to the burner, but no gas. What’s going on here? Inside the restaurant were other Koreans with their children looking odd at me. (Okay, they were not looking at me, but I’m paranoid.) The waiter came back and we ordered our very own speciality dinner. I ordered Jeuk Suk Boolgogee. It’s sliced beef marinated in traditional Korean sauce. What’s traditional Korean sauce? I don’t know, ask a Korean.
So we both sat at our table while I played with the brass knob on the burner. The waiter comes back out with two plates of meat and walks away. I’m looking at Andrea. What am I suppose do? Eat this. Come on, you’ve got to be kidding. Andrea was silent. (She’s into torture.) The waiter comes back with a hug basket of lettuce leaves. Great! Raw meat inside lettuce, yummy. Another waiter comes out with a gigantic plate with eleven cups of different types of ingredients. What were these ingredients? I don’t know, ask a Korean. I could decipher only one of the ingredients and that was cucumber. The waiter walks away and again I’m looking at Andrea. (Now Andrea is currently waterboarding me.) We did order Bar-B-Q right? The waiter comes back and the torture is over.
Maybe. He places two grill tongs on top of the marinated meat. He then trolleys a cart with a bucket of hot coals and he plops them into the center of the burner, places a grill on it and says, “Enjoy.” Okay, so I know I grill the meat. I get that and both Andrea and I proceed on grilling. The smoke from the meat rises into the fan that is directly above your table, so there isn’t any carbon monoxide poisoning. The meat is cooking and I look at Andrea. Now what, “Mrs. Pull-my-fingernails-out-with-bamboo-sticks?” She stares at me. I just took one of the lettuce leaf and started to plop meat and whatever ingredients into it and ate it like a savage. A savage eating meat filled lettuce drowning upside down with my fingernails bleeding while Andrea was standing over me laughing.
The waiter comes back grabs one of our grill tongs and starts flipping the meat on the grill. I ask boldly, “Am I doing this right?’ He explains, “Oh yes, you are. Just take the lettuce, put rice inside, then meat, and whatever else you want with it. Make sure you put this sauce on it.”
The torture is over. I pile on all sorts of meat goodness, and ingredients of unknown origins and place a dab of sauce on top. I take my first bite and I find out what the real torture was. The sauce. It’s extremely hot. Thank God for a cold beer and that one ingredient that I knew, the wholesome cucumber. Cooled off the burning sensation in my mouth quickly.
Now, since I took one for the team, everyone should come to this restaurant. The service is fantastic and they don’t mind stupid questions. The ambiance is difficult to rate because of the necessary equipment you must have in order to cook your meal. You just won’t see many restaurants set up this way. So go to the East side, pack your food adventure bags and live a little, will ya?
Food: 9.5 Service: 9 Ambiance: 8 Total: 26.5 out of 30
$60-$80 with adult beverages. You must order two specialty dinners in order to have Bar-B-Q, so take two of your friends. It’s plenty of food, trust me.
Andrea’s View: This isn’t so much “my view” as it is my side of the story. Dave spoke of my torture techniques, he has a few of his own. First, let me say that this was a food adventure for me as well. I had never eaten Korean barbecue before, but I have seen the concept on many food related tv programs. When the lettuce leaves were brought out to the table, I assumed it was for building lettuce wraps. When the raw meat was brought out to the table, I assumed that Dave would know that he and I would be cooking the raw meat on the burners that are in the center of every table in the restaurant. I assumed wrong. And then the real fun began. Following the raw meat, came 11 little dishes of condiments Korean style. The little dishes contained various picked vegetables, cucumbers, bean sprouts, cabbages, mushrooms, and others that were unrecognizable to me off-hand. Dave then proceeds to point to each one with his chopsticks and ask, “What’s that?” I don’t know, Dave. “Well, what’s that?” I don’t know Dave, poke it with your chopstick and find out. Then Dave asked, “What am I supposed to do?” Well Dave, I think that we cook our meat on the burner in the middle of the table and then we put the meat in the lettuce with whatever else you may like and eat it. “But you’re not sure”, he asks. No, not entirely, but no one will really care if we aren’t doing it right. So it’s then that Dave asks the server what to do. He then tells Dave that you take the cooked meat and put it in the lettuce with the other food on the table and you eat it. Wow. With that settled, we finished the rest of the meal in relative peace. I ordered the jeuk suk daeuchee boolgogee, which is spicy pork. I found the lettuce wraps cumbersome, so I put my rice on a plate and piled the meat and veggies on top and ate it with my chopsticks. Did I do that right? Probably not, but I didn’t care that Korean children were laughing at me. And were they really laughing at me? Probably not, they were too busy cooking their meat on the burner in the middle of the table.
Dave’s Response: I wasn’t born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus. (No hate mail from Greyhound birthers, please.) I know we wouldn’t eat raw meat, but my thinking was how we were going to cook the meat? Andrea you do not grill. Using a charcoal grill indoors usually spells death and Andrea you have to admit you were just as dumbfounded as I was with all the food coming out. By the way, this blog, just another torture I have to endure.