Gogi | West Ridge | Korean, Asian | Restaurant
Chicago's most satisfying live-coal Korean barbecue experience.

Our Review

Live-coal Korean barbecue has been going the way of the Cro-Magnon in recent years, so it was a surprising and happy development when this family-run operation opened in the space that once housed Hai Woon Dae. Gogi has both live fire and meat of a quality several orders above most anywhere else, offering nine cuts of mostly beef and pork, among them beautifully marbled slabs of pork belly; broad pork and beef ribs that unfurl into thin sheets of tenderized meat; lean, soy-and-sesame-oil-marinated nuggets of short steak; and even, if you're gutsy, ropy veal intestines. The meat is brought to the table with large bowls of glistening fresh pa muchim, a simple salad of greens and shredded green onion, plus baskets of plain lettuce and perilla leaves, and a variety of garnishes: little dishes of salted sesame oil, raw slices of garlic and jalapeños, and schmears of ssamjang, a mixture of red chile paste and bean paste that adds funk to the lettuce-wrapped packets of grilled muscle you construct and deliver to your muzzle by hand. And just because you're expected to do some of the cooking yourself doesn't mean you'll be abandoned—servers aren't the dour lifers you might have encountered elsewhere but engaging, helpful folks. Gogi offers a few other worthy nonbarbecued items as well, such as crispy griddled haemul pajeon, a pancake embedded with chewy octopus, and an especially good yukhoe, Korea's answer to steak tartare. Every available space on the table gets covered with an assortment of replenishable banchan, the little side dishes standard at any Korean meal (which here include some rarely seen offerings), and the drinking options are a step above the typical soju and lager as well. A crisp, refreshing Japanese Hitachino wheat beer and several rounds of meat are really all you need for the most satisfying Korean barbecue experience in the city. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
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