It was raining a couple of days ago and we were craving Korean food, then we remembered seeing this Korean BBQ restaurant after shopping from T&T before so decided to come give it a try. Kook Korean BBQ Restaurant is located at the upper tier of the First Avenue Marketplace located on Renfrew Street and 1st Avenue in Vancouver.
Strength: Well seasoned food, good meat quality, beautiful display.
Weakness: Small portioned combo
Other Korean Cuisine
- Bukjang Korean Cuisine (3.5 Stars)
- Dolpan Seoul BBQ (4.5 Stars)
- Potters Garden (3.5 Stars)
- Wang Ga Ma (왕가 마) (5 Stars)
- Kimbab Cheonguk (4.5 Stars)
Kook BBQ Front
Located on the upper tier of the First Avenue Marketplace, Kook Korean BBQ restaurant is easily accessible from the open parking. The use of black background and red oriental design illustrate a fusion of modernism with culture. The tinted window makes the interior seems darker, but remember the front entrance is the door to the left.
Interior has a sleek design with wood elements
I particularly like the illustration of the Vancouver skylight at the far wall. Next to it, a sleek embossed bronze “KOOK” typography logo is oriented vertically on the wall. They have friendly staff to make guests feel welcome from beginning to end.
A row of seating next to the window
Table and stove look very modern with a defined edge. you can see chairs designed using horizontal wood strips. You can find baskets for your clothes beneath the chair to avoid BBQ smell. Unfortunately, there are no lids for the baskets. This is one of the better seats with a few to the stores below.
Life & Safety reassured with fire extinguisher
It is always relieved to see a BBQ restaurant with a properly installed fire suppression system at each table to ensure the safety of patrons.
Sides look extravagant
Every combo comes with soup, rice, lettuce for wrapping and 15 side dish. Staff came to lay all side dishes around the grill to form a larger circle. To my surprise, these smaller dishes formed a seamless circles like it’s been carefully calculated.
The 15 side dishes are mushroom. preserved daikon strips. salad, bean curd, kimchi, bean sprout. long bean, zucchini, pasta, broccoli, raw garlic slice, agar jelly, raw jalapeño slices, sweet potato, cabbage with onion. Most of these side dishes are legit, but I find the raw sliced garlic and jalapeño a little questionable. Regardless, they look quite isnta-worthy.
Simple metal utensil
All the utensil here is traditional Korean metal ones. They are simple and clean.
BBQ dishes come with 3 sauces
The 3 dipping sauce are spicy-sweet Korean bean sauce, salt, Korean BBQ sauce. If you use the salt make sure you don’t dip too much.
The portion is too small for $58.95
When you order BBQ dishes, customers can choose to BBQ themselves or have the kitchen prepare them. We chose the self cook option to better experience Korean BBQ. These raw meat have very good display, but the amount of meat is not really enough for 2
Kook Korean BBQ restaurant has very good service. The waitresses would seek the perfect moment to come change our dirty grill without us asking. They also refill the sides quite promptly. They always arrive at our table with a smile, which made their food tastier.
Prime Beef Rib
The prime beef rib was served as one single piece of meat attached to a piece of the rib at the end. We use the scissors provided to cut them into smaller pieces to cook. The raw ingredient was a very good cut. Given our sub-par BBQ skill to slightly over-cook this, the texture still has a tender crunch.
The bulgogi beef is thinly sliced beef marinated with house special sauce. Because of the thickness, these meat are filled with subtle flavors that work so well together. I do not advise dipping this in sauces. If you really have to, use the Korean BBQ sauce on the right that has less impact.
The problem with spicy pork in any BBQ restaurant is the restaurant typically use the spicy sauce to mask unwanted pork smell. It is harder for customers to tell if the ingredient is fresh. That’s why they are usually considered as filler in a combo. I was unable to find this dish by itself on the menu.
Our pork seems stuck together and hard to spread out on the grill. I wrapped it with garlic and jalapeños and pretend I was having pork belly. Due to the color of the sauce, it is a little harder to determine if this is fully cooked.
The chicken was served as a whole piece de-boned thigh. It is marinated with rosemary and has hexagonal slices. We cooked it whole, and cut it with scissors. They are very juicy.
Soft Tofu Soup
The tofu soup has a beef base. Even though the beef was a little tough to chew, they are high in quantity. The tofu is tender as promised and there are lots of other ingredients in the soup. Onions and zucchini take up the majority space in this bowl, and I like the half-cooked egg inside. The spicy flavour overpowers the entire bowl to make this bowl seemingly lack other flavours. It is a good addition that comes with the combo.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Kook Korean BBQ Restaurant is one of the newer Korean BBQ places in Vancouver. Their strength is the premium ingredient quality and the service provided. It is not a down to earth restaurant like Wang Ga Ma in Coquitlam and the $33 per person price point definitely includes the cost of their decoration. I would recommend this place if the portion is larger. On my restaurant list, it is being categorized as a premium Korean restaurant in Vancouver East.