In 2012 my brother and I went to Anaheim, California for a Big Bang concert. My oldest and dearest friend Shana who lives in that area came to spend the weekend with us at the hotel. We had a great three days eating and doing some touristy things. One of her restaurant recommendations was this Korean barbecue place called Gen. After a long day playing in Disneyland we were ready for a buffet of grilled meats! To this day I remember thinking that was one of the best meals that I had ever had. So, imagine how excited I was to see that the California chain was opening a location in Carrollton, Texas. Woohoo!!! Since 2012 I have eaten a ton of Korean barbecue and I was hoping that Gen was as good as I remember it to be.
Like Jin, one of my favorite restaurants, Gen is all you can eat. Unlike Jin, the food is not self serve buffet style. The wait staff will bring your choices to you. You have two hours of all you can eat with a limit of 4 orders each round. As you can see there’s not much in the selection of ban chan. However, the focus is solely on the meat so why do you need a ton of side dishes, right? The one thing that I enjoy more about Jin is that you can get as much or as little meat as you want. I like the portion control flexibility they provide much better. Sometimes you only want a little itty more of samgyeopsal.
Each person gets three different dipping options. The brown sauce is sweet and I was told to dip the beef in it. The middle sauce is sesame oil and a little bit of salt. The third option is a seasoned salt. I wish I asked the waiter what these were so I could tell you better, but I was too focused on what meats I was going to order.
Additional condiments that you can order are garlic, jalapeños and samjang. You place the garlics and jalapeños on the grill and eat it with your meats. The jalapenos were spicy!!!
Gen is the only Korean barbecue place that I’ve been to that gives you rice wraps to bundle your meat in. I love this concept. However, it’s a pain to separate the sheets. It may have something to do with it being prepared ahead of time which allows the rice sheets to stick together. I vaguely remember the rice wraps at the restaurant in California were easier to separate and handle.
This is something that I’ve been wanting to try since I saw it on Instagram!!! Marinated large intestines or daechang. Weird, right?! I was so excited to get this on the grill. It doesn’t make a pretty picture, but I was stoked about trying this.
The large intestines are lined with fat on the inside. Obviously grilled large intestines aren’t for everyone. Fatty meats aren’t either so I know some of you won’t ever try this. At least you got to see pictures of it, right? It took a while to cook. Of course I’m new to eating large intestines so I didn’t really know how long I should cook it. I based it on the pictures on Instagram. I know that you wan to grill as much fat out of it as possible. The intestines didn’t really taste like anything to me. Small intestines has a distinct flavor, but the large ones not so much. It tasted like bulgogi marinade. It was chewy and fatty. So, of course I liked it.
Of course we could not pass up pork belly or samgyeopsal. Unlike a lot of Korean barbecue restaurants the pork belly at Gen is not frozen. It literally came to the table like a large slice of bacon. It’s also thick cut which is nice! Pork belly dipped in sesame oil with a little bit of samjang is delicious!
We also ordered the Hawaiian steak and marinated beef rib meat. Our waiter recommended the Hawaiian steak and it was delicious. I recommend these two options when you’re at Gen for sure. The beef was tender and full of flavor.
My brother could not resist ordering some Cajun shrimps to put on the grill. The marinade was garlicky and similar to what you could find at a crawfish boil. The shrimp was delicious and sweet. I found it difficult to de-shell though and eventually gave up and ate the shrimp shell and all.
Overall, Gen is a great restaurant that I highly recommend everyone try. I have fond memories of the first time I ate at Gen in California and I’m glad that we have on in Texas now. It isn’t my favorite Korean barbecue restaurant, but it’s definitely on my list.