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Best New Restaurants 2022: Don Pocha Korean BBQ
Owner Jo Chong’s newest restaurant is already a popular destination for interactive Korean barbecue dinners, plus spicy soups, bibimbap and Korean-Chinese specialties like jajangmyeon.
Our prediction: 2022 is the year of Korean cuisine in Columbus. A Korean hot dog spot is coming soon to the Short North, and a Korean fried chicken chain, CM Chicken, recently opened in Northwest Columbus. Look at any trendy menu of late and you’ll find gochujang-this or kimchi-that. For the real deal, head to this Reed Road Korean barbecue restaurant from the former owners of Poong Mei Asian Bistro.
Here, small bowls of banchan, such as crunchy kkakdugi (radish kimchi) and nokdu-muk (mung bean jelly), arrive to the table on rolling carts. At the restaurant’s inset grill tables, customers can cook a wide selection of fresh beef, pork, seafood and vegetables. (Don’t miss the short ribs, which employ an excellent marinade developed by owner Jo Chong.)
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Not in the mood to DIY? Don Pocha offers seafood-packed pancakes, hot pot for two, stews such as kimchi-jjigae and the ever-popular bibimbap, which arrives still smoking on its metal plate with an egg cracked on top. It may not be flashy, but Don Pocha will be one of the most memorable meals you’ll have all year.
All in the Name: You know what sounds more fun than ho-hum calamari? Crazy Squid Hair. Don Pocha wins the award for our Favorite Dish Name of the Year, thanks to this appetizer: fried and shredded squid topped with Parmesan cheese and served with Sriracha mayo.
Poong Mei Lives On: Though owner Jo Chong closed Poong Mei in September after a decade in business, several of the restaurant’s specialties are now being served at Don Pocha, its newer sibling next door. The popular Korean-Chinese dish jajangmyeon—wheat noodles in a thick black bean sauce—is here under the name Zazang Myun. You’ll also find jjamppong, the spicy Korean noodle soup, as well as pa-dak, aka fried chicken topped with shredded green onions.
Don Pocha Korean BBQ
4710 Reed Road, Upper Arlington
This story is from the February 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.