Dining Out: Blue House Korean BBQ
2030 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 22, Roseville, 916-472-6598
Since the grill was glaring at our party of two, we had our server fire up the dragon (it’s a very tame one) as we ordered the “medium” BBQ combo with soy garlic pork bulgogi (thinly sliced meats), spicy chicken bulgogi, and beef brisket. Don’t be lulled into thinking the “medium” is something one could endeavor through solo. The quantity and quality of the proteins was impressive, and the beautifully presented platter could’ve easily fed three to four people—especially in combination with the five-plus banchan (small, refillable side dishes; options regularly rotate) like kimchi, pickled vegetables, mashed potatoes, etc.; white or brown rice, mixed veggies, dipping sauces, cheesy corn, and soup that all came complimentary. My favorite was the kimchi jjigae soup—reminiscent of a vegetable beef stew albeit with spicy kimchi. The mouthwatering marinated meats—still sizzling just off the grill, then dipped in one of myriad sauces—can be eaten as is, over rice, or in a lettuce wrap.
We also sampled an order of the most unusual and unexpected shrimp fried rice, essentially a mound of fried rice encircled by cheesy corn and deep-fried prawns then topped with fried seaweed, chili threads, and a perfectly fried egg. Believe me when I say the obscure combination worked and might even have you asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
One of the most popular Korean rice dishes, stone pot bibimbap—featuring a colorful combination of vegetables (spinach, bean sprouts, zucchini, black mushrooms, carrots) your choice of meat (or avocado), and a fried egg served in a sizzling stone vessel filled with rice—was calling my name. Pro tip: Fans of sauce and spice will want to add a drizzle of gochujang (chili pepper paste that’s akin to Korean BBQ sauce) before mixing the entire bowl of goodness together (bibimbap translated is “mixed rice,” after all) and diving in. If you’re patient, the hot stone pot creates what paella fans know as socarrat or crispy rice—a sensual stunner to the eyes and palate.
At this point, there was so much food on our table that I felt like sending out an SOS, but we carried—and consumed—on.
Though a new type of cuisine can oftentimes be intimidating, Blue House does a superb job of making you feel at ease. Throughout our meal, the manager floated around to answer questions (there were many), expand our Korean culinary IQ, and make us feel at home.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. (daily)
Try This: Korean Fried Chicken, Kimchi Pancake, Seoul Quesadilla, Beef Bulgogi Fries, Galbi, Stone Pot Bibimbap, Shirmp Fried Rice, BBQ Combinations
Drinks: Beer and wine
Heads-Up: Gluten-free and vegan options; happy hour from 3-5 p.m. daily with drink and food specials; kids’ meals; for people in a hurry, the kitchen can grill the meats for you; lunch box specials served weekdays
by Lorn Randall // photos by Menka Belgal