SeoulSpice Switches to Korean BBQ Menu
While many sit-down restaurants in the DMV have moved to take-out or delivery because of the pandemic, fast-casual Seoulspice has taken the opposite route. The Korean comfort food spot has transformed its NoMa and Tenlytown locations into Korean barbecue pop-ups.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we successfully launched a mobile bodega service, Heart+Seoul, with the aim to provide convenient, affordable and safe groceries for the communities we serve,” said owner Eric Shin, who is also the principal percussionist for the National Symphony Orchestra. “Eight months later, as we move into winter, our team wanted to find a way to engage new business while offering an outstanding value and a safe indoor dining environment during these uncertain economic times. We hope our customers will make a return revisit to our restaurants, knowing that we are taking every necessary precaution to ensure our patrons and staff stay safe.”
Shin hopes to add three new locations next year and the pop-up is a way to test the concept. “This pop-up will also allow us to explore the possibility of opening an authentic Korean barbeque restaurant in downtown D.C. once this pandemic is behind us,” he said.
The barbecue features all-you-can-eat dry-aged beef brisket you cook on a portable, table-top grill along with house-made sauces, white rice and Korean banchan – sides including kimchi, Korean radish, cucumbers, bean sprouts, kale and whole garlic cloves (grill them with the beef). The new unlimited Korean barbecue is priced at $19.99 per person but is 10% off or $17.99 through the end of December.
Additional items are available for purchase separately, such as bulgogi, thin-sliced ribeye in a sweet and savory marinade; marinated chicken, locally-raised; spicy pork; tofu made from organic, non-GMO beans; japchae, gluten-free sweet potato noodles tossed with carrots and kale in a sesame-ginger-soy marinade; purple rice, a multi-grain blend of forbidden black rice and sushi-grade white rice; and a soft-boiled egg marinated in a sweet-soy base. Prices range from $1.99-$7.99.
SeoulSpice has also enhanced its safety measures to facilitate social distancing. Each restaurant will only allow two parties of no more than five people to dine at one time, leaving at least 10 feet or more between table. The restaurants also rotate tables, so each one can be cleaned and sit for an hour between guests. To limit exposure, diners pre-pay and scan a QR code to request refills and purchase additional meats, banchan and drinks. Each table also has its own individual HEPA air filter with UV light “scrubbling.”
SeoulSpice’s Korean barbecue menu is available at 145 N Street NW, Suite 400 and 4600 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington. Both restaurants serve their usual customizable bibimbap bowls and kimbap “burritos” to go. Required reservations are available from 5-9 p.m. and limited to one hour. The College Park location at 4200 Guilford Drive b2, only serves the regular menu and not the Korean barbecue.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.