I had a perfectly pleasant meal recently at Korean Gogi Grill on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row. I enjoyed the surroundings, the graciousness and good humor of the staff, and the food (mostly).
Gogi occupies a building on an outparcel in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips. It’s a lovely space with a modern decor. Tables are wired for those wishing to cook their own meats and the comfy chairs – and plates and napkins and just about everything else in the restaurant are emblazoned with the restaurant’s name, which is Korean for meat.
For my lunch I chose the bulgogi box, which also included a serviceable salad, a couple of pieces of sushi, a potsticker dumpling, tempura vegetables and white rice.
The bulgogi (bul means fire) was sauteed with strips of red and green peppers and onions and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. The meat had that wonderful umamic taste of soy mixed with ginger and garlic.
There was little special about the sushi, a couple of coins of rolled rice with surimi and cucumber, topped with sesame seeds, but the kimchi was fresh and spicy.
The tempura, too, was enjoyable, with firm slices of potato and onion in a delicate jacket.
The lunch also came with a bowl of miso soup, which was surprisingly full flavored and had bits of seaweed and tofu cubes within.
There was really only one disappointment, and it can’t be dismissed. The rice was so dry I couldn’t eat it. And for someone like me who eats a lot of rice, that’s saying something.
The portions were ample, especially considering the $14.95 fee for the box. When I asked a gentleman, who may have been the manager or owner, for a takeout box, he shook his head and said, “We’ll keep it here for you but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to finish it.” I almost believed him for a second.
The interior is spacious and I felt comfortable dining inside. In between rows of booths in the middle of the room a stream of steam rises with lighting that makes it appear as flickering flames. Must be quite an effect in the evenings.
I’d like to go back and see it.
Korean Gogi Grill is at 7800 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-704-2109.