Nara Debuts Korean Grill Room With an Upscale Take on Traditional Meals
In Korean, gogigui means, literally, roasting meat, and that's exactly what you do in Nara's new grill room, which opens to the public today, December 19.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg Dripping fat from marbled beef excites the fire on the grill at Nara.
Traditionally, diners prepare the Korean "barbecue" themselves at tables with built-in gas or charcoal grills in an informal setting. But at Nara, chef Donald Chang has sought to elevate Korean food with premium ingredients and a venue that is already being called one of the most beautiful in Houston.
Nara opened in mid-November, but this week marks the debut of the space designed specifically for Korean-style grilling. (I took a sneak peek at the space recently and was pleased.)
The three tables in the semi-private back room are conjoined, a communal dining experience ideal for groups of two to 12 people. In the center of each sleek, black table are 14-inch grills, which came from a restaurant-supply store in the Gangnam District of Seoul.
Dine with friends or make new ones in the communal grill room.
Traditionally, Korean barbecue is served with banchan, small side dishes such as kimchi, sesame eggplant and sautéed oyster mushrooms. The banchan at Nara are all unique, delicious and, of course, authentic. Chang's mother, Kyong Ja Chang, devised all of the recipes, and they're so secret that she won't even share them with her son. She and Chang's sister, Esther Cho, who is Nara's head kitchen chef, come to Nara daily to prepare the banchan and a few special sauces.