The Service At Kang Hodong Baekjeong Is As Cold As Its Grilled Meats Are Hot.
Last night at Kang Hodong Baekjeong, I discovered that the pork is better than the beef, but the food is better than the service.
Don't get me wrong, the servers did everything we asked of them. They brought as many refills of the panchan as we wanted, especially the corn cheese, of which we requested three additional helpings. They also obliged our request to take a picture of our group. And most importantly, they cooked all the meat.
But I got the feeling that, to them, we were just another problem to be dealt with--an obstacle to getting the next set of customers in and out.
One server got visibly annoyed when I asked him to repeat how many guests the combos fed. Another reprimanded us sternly when she saw a kid in our party was standing in the aisle briefly. And when I asked a third server to bring out the birthday cake we asked them to store, he just handed me the box without offering to help us clear the empty plates to make room for it.
I suppose I shouldn't have expected more than the bare minimum here. Generally speaking, no group of people I've ever met who wear ear pieces like Secret Service agents have an incentive of being friendly or accommodating. Kang Hodong Baekjeong's servers were as cold as its grilled meats were hot.
What makes all of this so ironic is that Kang Hodong himself, the restaurant chain's owner and namesake, is supposed to be a famous comedian, host, and entertainer back in South Korea. Life-sized pictures show him laughing and in good cheer.
So is it due time for the host-in-chief to record a new training video? Perhaps, especially as the chain gets ready to open a new branch in Irvine.
But despite it all, I still think Kang Hodong Baekjeong has some of the best Korean BBQ pork around. So what I said about the food in my two-year-old OC Weekly review still stands. The meat is as sweet as meat could be--it's just that it's served by sourest people on Earth.
Kang Hodong Baekjeong
5171 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90621
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
LSXO - Huntington Beach