Our Mom and Kid team take on San Su Korean B.B.Q. Cuisine in Northwest Columbus.
THE MOM SAYS
I've enjoyed Korean barbecue cooking in other cities, so I was really looking forward to introducing our son to this unique style of eating. Friends have raved about San Su in Northwest Columbus, so I called the day before for reservations (it turned out we did not need reservations at 6:30 on a Friday evening, but by 7 p.m. we might have).
Knowing that this type of meal means more banchan (side dishes) than you could ever hope to finish, along with your main proteins, we skipped the appetizers.
Each table comes with a grill set into the table. Where I've eaten Korean before, we got to cook our own food (think fondue style), but at San Su, the very friendly food server did the cooking for us.
As nice and as helpful as she was in explaining each item, I honestly would have preferred to cook my own meats. With the food being cooked for us, it made for a much quicker dinner than I would have liked (especially when the meal is so pricey): The food really does taste best when it's still hot, so you tend to just chow the whole time. And then it's over and then you're in a food coma.
That said, the food was delicious. My husband and I opted for the "San for two" meal ($53.95). That netted us kalbi BBQ (beef short ribs), sam kyup sal (pork belly) and cha dol bae gi (thin sliced beef with a sesame dipping sauce) for our proteins, which we wrapped in green-leaf lettuce with steamed rice; one bowl of kimchi jjigae (spicy cabbage soup, but not so spicy that I couldn't eat it); one hissing hot pot of gyeran jjim (very surreal steamed eggs); and about 10 of those banchan, which were mostly kimchi preparations but also included a yummy potato salad. Basically anything that had sesame oil in it tasted fabulous and I was very happy to consume it.
Bathrooms were fine. No diaper-changing station, but the unisex, handicap-accessible bathroom is large enough that you could do something makeshift. For as quickly as you might get in and out of there, a diaper change might not be needed.
For the price, I'm not sure I would choose this again for a dinner, especially if I'm using this as an opportunity to introduce children to another cuisine. The lunches, however, are much more reasonably priced and would be a fine alternative. We knew our son loved bulgogi, so he would have eaten it at any price and I'm sure he'll be asking to go back sometime.
THE KID SAYS
I was excited to go to San Su because we had already gone to Benihana's and my mother said it was kind of like that. And it was because of the grill, but this grill was smaller and it was set down into the table. My mother said in other Korean barbecues you can cook your own food, but they cooked it for us at San Su.
I thought the restaurant looked cool. I liked the comfy booths. Our waitress was really nice, explaining to us what everything was.
The food was amazing, especially the beef bulgogi ($21). It was so good I didn't even share it with my parents. I've tried bulgogi before but theirs was definitely the best. The sauce made it taste so good.
There were so many side dishes. I think she lined up like 10 in a circle around the grill, and I only tried one, the sliced radish. I liked it.
I didn't try wrapping anything in lettuce leaves. I didn't know that's what they were for and I thought my parents were just doing that because that's them. I'm still glad I didn't try anything wrapped in lettuce.
I think I tried at least one of all the meats she cooked for us. I don't know what each one was called, but I liked them.
I kind of liked how quick it was, since it only took 40 minutes. Sometimes you just don't want a sit-down-long kind of meal.
The bathrooms were really nice, definitely very clean.
We didn't have any dessert because we were full. I would like to go back.