An extension of the LA-based Korean cuisine chain, GEN Korean BBQ House opened their doors in Sacramento on March 5th. Located at Arden Mall, GEN is a fun, convenient pit stop for hungry shoppers, as well as the general public. Anticipation met the newest Korean BBQ restaurant in town with a whole lot of bustle and a line of hungry customers eager to eat.
GEN Korean BBQ House has a modern, trendy look that feels fresh and new. Lined by the bar are tables that sit higher to meet the edge of the bar, and down on the ground are lines of tables and grills to serve bigger parties. Faint music can be heard, drowned by conversations and laughs in each corner of the packed restaurant, everyone enjoying their time and their food.
As side dishes and orders of meats and appetizers filled up the table, my cousin and I noticed that it grew increasingly harder to maneuver plates and utensils around. It took teamwork to manage the many dishes on the smaller sized tables. Once we figured out a rhythm, however, it was time to eat!
Off of the dinner menu, we ordered four meats at a time and spicy tofu soup on the side. We started off with the highly regarded items with a thumbs up next to their names in the menu: Spicy Pork Bulgogi (thinly sliced), Beef Bulgogi (thinly sliced), Garlic Chicken, and GEN Signature Yangyum Galbi (marinated short ribs).
As we waited for the meats to cook on the grill, we enjoyed the side dishes of kimchi, potato salad, and more. We liked the potato salad the best with just the right creamy consistency and flavor. The spicy tofu soup, however, neither of us enjoyed. The dominating taste of the soup was the tomato flavoring, which we couldn’t decide was authentic or not. The Jap Chae (marinated glass noodles), a staple noodle of Korean cuisine, was interesting in flavor and unappetizing as well. While we continued to watch the colors turn on our meats, we inquired about the sauces offered for dipping. We were surprised and impressed to hear about the ten different sauces offered by GEN. We asked for a few of their spiciest and some sweeter selections.
The beef bulgogi cooked fastest, so we took them off of the grill and dipped our separate shares into the sauces. The marination wasn’t overwhelming and paired well with the sauces. Next up was the spicy pork bulbogi, full of flavor and tender. It took a while to cook through on the grill, but was well worth the wait! Paired with a chopstick full of rice, it was our favorite meat of the night! We thoroughly enjoyed the flavor and taste! Less impressive were the garlic chicken and short ribs, just lightly marinated and blander in flavor.
We ordered a second round of meats: GEN Premium Steak, Smoked Samgyubsal (pork belly), Calamari Frits (deep fried calamari), and Cajun Shrimp. The steak wasn’t tender, but maybe that was the way we cooked it. The pork belly had a taste my cousin and I struggled to identify, but knew that we didn’t enjoy. The calamari was decent. The shrimp we liked!
GEN Korean BBQ House made a valiant effort in their soft opening. Next to the Korean BBQ restaurants already popular in the Sacramento area, GEN takes a backseat in flavor and variety. However, it’s a taste I might want to revisit in the near future.
The service is to be lauded for their professionalism, knowledge, and accommodation. All of the hosts and servers were attentive to our needs, especially when changing out our grills, and kind.
If you happen to be shopping Arden Mall and find yourself in the mood for Korean BBQ, for convenience purposes, give GEN a visit. If you can drive the distance and wait in line for other Korean BBQ options in the greater Sacramento area, do it. Perhaps this taste of LA doesn’t belong in Sacramento? You tell me!
GEN Korean BBQ House
1689 Arden Way Ste 1148
Sacramento, CA 95815