Home » Restaurant Review » Review of Corea Kalbi – My First visit to an AYCE Korean BBQ
Review of Corea Kalbi  –  My First visit to an AYCE Korean BBQ

Review of Corea Kalbi – My First visit to an AYCE Korean BBQ

Review of Corea Kalbi  

My First visit to an AYCE Korean BBQ


My first experience at an ALL YOU CAN EAT ( AYCE ) Korean BBQ restaurant, Corea Kalbi

My first experience at an ALL YOU CAN EAT ( AYCE ) Korean BBQ restaurant, Corea Kalbi


I am going to make the blanket statement that I know very little about the traits that make a good Korean BBQ restaurant. Up until last week, I only visited one Korean BBQ restaurant, but it was a bad experience. With that said, this Korean BBQ novice attended his first All You Can Eat ( AYCE ) experience at Corea Kalbi in Newport Beach.



Corea Calbi Korean BBQ -  Exterior

Corea Kalbi is located near John Wayne airport, right next to Tapas.


I visited during a busy Friday lunch with a friend who considers himself to be the Mac Daddy of Korean BBQ and claims to know the best places from Monterey Park to KTown.  Apparently for people who visit Korean BBQ, there are strict minimum standards that must be met in order to have a good experience. This novice received a crash course in Korean BBQ sub-culture.


Corea Calbi Korean BBQ -  Interior

Each table has a grill built in, allowing you to cook your own meat. Image courtesy of Coreakalbi.com


Helpful Korean BBQ Terms

Gogigui literally “meat + roasting”- this is the same as Korean BBQ

Bulgogi usually made from thickly sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin.

Galbi  (Kalibi) made from marinated beef short ribs.

AYCE – All you can eat

Banchon – Side dishes


AYCE  Choices at Corea Calbi

With the Corea Kalbi AYCE menu, you are provided with a list of meats and you select them one at a time to grill at your table.. Since I visited during the lunch, our choices less than dinner.  The waitress will bring more meat once you move your cooked meat off the grill. Below are the meats we tried. 


 We started with the unmarinated bulgogi. The bulgogi  sliced in 1/8 thin so that it can cook quickly.  Once the waitress drops the meat on the grill it is your job to flip and cook your meat to perfection.  My friend showed me how to spread out the meat on the grill ensuring it gets an even heat. 

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  Bulgogi

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ – Bulgogi just placed on the grill.


The rib-eye is cut in the royal Kalbi style (thin slices of meat, cut between the bones at the high end of the rib closest to the loin). The beef was definitely of high quality. When it came out it was very lean with some marbling. The meat had a very clean natural beef flavor. I really enjoyed the beef as it was of very high quality.


Soy Marinated Brisket

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  Soy Marinated Brisket

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ – Soy Marinated Brisket,. this traditionally tough meat is extremely tender from the thin slicing and deep marination.


Next we ordered the soy marinated Certified Angus Beef brisket. It was very amazing. It tasted like it had been marinating overnight, as the sweet and salty flavors ran deep into the meat. Once the brisket hit the grill I could already taste the flavor of the meat in my nostrils.


Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  brisket cooked

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ – Soy Marinated Brisket,.cooked and ready to eat. I suggest you add some kimchi to spice things up.

I began to instantly salivate like a Pavlovian dog. The meat is very thin sliced so the texture is very tender and it also allows the flavor of the meat to pop in your mouth.


Jidori Chicken two Ways

I ordered both the standard soy marinated and the spicy Jidori chicken breast.  I was getting full at this point so I asked for just a half-portion of the soy chicken.

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  Chicken two ways

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ – Chicken two ways, soy marinated and spicy


 The waitress gave me disproving stare like a doting Gramdma looking to fill the belly of her favorite grandchild.  Even though I asked for a small portion, she brought out both types of chicken for me (full portion in total). She insisted, “you have to try both, I want you to leave full.”  I could not disappoint…I ate it all.


Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  Chicken 2

Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ – I just liked the soy marinated chicken, but LOVED the spicy chicken.


It is perhaps best I don’t have kids, because I would choose favorites. In this situation I LOVED the spicy chicken, it had the perfect balance of spicy flavors, heat and sweetness. The  soy marinated chicken was just o.k. 


Off the Daily Deal – Kalbi

The day we visited they were running a sale on their Kalbi short-rib. Even though we had just ordered the all you can eat, we decided to go the full hog and order the side of L.A. Kalbi, since it was not on the lunch menu. I am very glad we did because it was the best item on the menu. A large plate of meat arrived at the table and we knew that our stomachs were in trouble.


Corea Calbi Korean BBQ -  calbi


The meat itself was extremely tender and I was easily able to rip the meat off the bones with my teeth with very little resistance. The meat had the same soy marinate as the brisket and chicken, simply sweet and savory in the same bite.



Korean BBQ comes with banchan (side dishes). These side dishes are expected with Korean BBQ meals. There are very high expectations and snobbery in the Korean BBQ community surrounding  the quality and abundance of these side show dishes.  On a side note, these are often barely touched even though a big fuss is made about them.


Corea Kalbi Korean BBQ -  Sides 1

Korean BBQ comes with various banchan (side dishes)


  • House Made Kimchi – The kimchi has a medium kick and was full of flavor.
  • Bean Sprouts – These were nothing special, although they served as a palate cleanser between meats
  • Soy Bean Stew – This is essentially Korean vegetable soup made from a soy bean broth and loaded with chunky vegetables. Our waitress told me “it will make me nice and strong, even more than you already are.” I liked her right away.
  • Fish Cakes – Apparently fish cakes are fairly standard fare for Banchan at Korean BBQ. These tasted excellent and had a very mellow flavor.
  • Pumpkin – The pumpkin mash was a nice way to clean out the palate and finish off the meal.
  • Some tasty fried and leathered noodles – I have no idea what these are called, but I did not care for them.
  • Something Extra we ordered –  Steamed Egg– Yummy! It was fluffy and delicious. I am an egg whore, so these steamed eggs where right up my alley.


My Final Thoughts on Corea Kalbi

This was my first visit to a Korean BBQ restaurant and from the eyes of this novice, I was extremely impressed with Corea Kalbi. My friend who joined me said that he actually really enjoyed this restaurant and that he thinks it competes with some of his favorites in Monterey Park. “It wasn’t my favorite, but I was  very impressed by the quality of meat, sides, and service.” Now that I broke my AYCE Korean BBQ cherry, expect more posts about Orange County Korean BBQ restaurants. 


Corea Calbi Korean BBQ -  calbi

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. This looks delicious! I ‘ll have to try Korean BBQ some time! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  2. I have never tried Korean BBQ but this looks soo good. Great review!

  3. Everything looks seasoned to perfection!

  4. I have never had asian bbq before, but this looks absolutely fabulous! Definitely something I have to try one day!

  5. The pictures and your descriptions made my mouth water – I want to try a Korean BBQ soon. Thanks for broadening my horizons!

  6. I’m a huge lover of everything South Korean and their food is not an exemption! I could live on their food for the rest of my life! The meat you showed looked amazing! Makes me want to head over to the restaurant near my place and have some kalbi!!!!

  7. I would really like to give that a try. We haven’t had good Korean BBQ in a long time.

  8. I gave up meat about a year ago, but it was nice reading this and learning a bit more about Korean barbecue

  9. Awesome!! Korean BBQ is one of the best cuisine on korea. I can tell because i’v been in a dozen Korean restaurant.

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