Editor's Picks

From Korean Barbecue to Hot Pot, the 9 Best Restaurants to Cook Your Own Food

Those who prefer to be behind the grill (or bowl) will love these spots.

By Alice Levitt December 4, 2017 Published in the December 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Gyu kaku pvpuqg

Type A much? Some of us like what we like and know how to get it: by grilling, boiling or searing our own meals, even on nights out. Type Bs, too, will enjoy these dinner-and-a-show combos.

75 BBQ & Hot Pot Buffet

There’s more than one way to get exactly what you want here. For $25.99, a server slings free drinks, turns on your Korean-barbecue-style grill and refills your chile-dense hot pot until you’re bursting. Mix your own marinades at the sauce bar, or get meats already soaked for your dining pleasure. The near-infinite options range from multiple styles of noodles and tofu to frog legs and thin-sliced lamb. There’s even scoop-your-own ice cream at the end.

Flower Piggy Korean BBQ

Guests choose whether to cook over charcoal or gas grills, but either way, they’ll sample their way through some delicious marinated meat. Barbecue combos come with a staggering array of banchan, but also a bubbling steamed egg, corn cheese and a choice of soup. There are plenty of stews and rice dishes on the menu for those not seeking the thrill of the grill.

Fung’s Kitchen

This Houston staple is known for its dim sum, not its hot pot, but that’s due for a change. And in keeping with the chandelier-bedecked dining room, it’s fancy stuff: thinly sliced Berkshire pork served on a bed of cellophane noodles and twisty carrots. After the rich broth has seen its last piece of pork, finish off your meal by boiling up a pile of tender baby bok choy.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

We all know Korean barbecue, but this chain trades in the almost-as-covetable Japanese equivalent. The best time to visit is during during the day. Among the appealing lunch sets, we like the Samurai, whose marinated meats include miso hanger steak, sweet soy beef ribs and spicy pork belly, along with salad, soup and rice. Finish the experience with a $3 order of make-your-own s’mores.

Img 9869 edx6um

The breadth of options at Flower Piggy

Image: Alice Levitt

Ka Sushi

A few of the city’s Japanese restaurants offer steak ready to cook on forbiddingly hot, flat volcanic rocks. We like the version here for its variety, which includes not only different grades of wagyu, but also humbler beef tongue, escolar and assorted mushrooms. For seafood fans, there are Hokkaido scallops, which, like the other proteins, are cooked in butter and enlivened by a pair of tangy dipping sauces.

Korea House

If you’re really hungry, tackle the all-you-can-eat barbecue at this Koreatown favorite—the main attraction here—but be warned: Customers are charged $5 per unfinished plate. Luckily, the offerings are good enough that you’ll likely conquer a sizable segment of the 28 meats, not to mention the banchan, kimchi pancakes, dumplings, soup and spicy rice cakes also included for $35.95.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

This Chinese-owned chain purports to serve “traditional Inner Mongolian hot pot cuisine” at locations all over the world. Diners can split their pot between mild bone broth dotted with goji berries and cardamom, and a fiery soup that burns with Szechuan peppercorns and chile oil. Mix-ins lean on lamb—including meatballs and wontons—and exotic veggies.

Saigon Pagolac

Bo 7 mon translates to “beef seven ways.” That means not only a treat for meat lovers, but that amateur chefs have a host of ways to flex their culinary muscles. The most fun of all the methods is “Vietnamese fajitas,” in which diners cook their beef in vinegar, fondue-style, for a tangy treat, then roll it in rice paper with a choice of fillings including bean sprouts, carrots and herbs.

Thai Spice Express

Hot pot can be a bit one-note, but not here. Among the three broths, tom yum is the sweet-and-sour stand-out. Diners also choose proteins, whether a meat-lovers’ featuring beef, pork and chicken, or one of the seafood-starring mixes crammed with shrimp and crab. Our favorite inclusion: raw eggs ready to be poached in your soup.

Show Comments