K-Town BBQ & Tofu offers Korean food in Gretna | Food and drink | Gambit Weekly

David Park invites interested eaters to sample his Korean cuisine.

“I don’t think too many people here know Korean food,”K-Town BBQ & Tofu’s owner says that it is located next to the Hong Kong Food Market in Gretna. “Vietnamese, Chinese, sushi, yes, but even my staff wasn’t familiar with our cuisine.”

Many Vietnamese restaurants have used the large restaurant since its inception. It was located at the intersection of Hong Kong Market and Atrium. Park knew the restaurant was vacant since the outbreak and signed the lease after Hurricane Ida. K-Town was opened in June. The only Korean restaurant on the West Bank, K-Town is Park’s first foray into the local market.

Park was a concessions worker for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where he worked with his brother. This was three years before the pandemic. Park also worked in Florida as a manager in Korean restaurants. He lives with his wife and son in Los Angeles. “My son goes to a good school there, so for now they stay there,”He spoke. “I go back and forth.”

Korean food is famous for its beef. It is marinated for several weeks before being grilled. It’s served with a dipping sauce of pungent garlic, chili, and soybean paste. But as meat-centric as the cuisine is, tofu also is a big player, hence the restaurant’s name.

“We use a lot of very soft tofu in soups,” says Park, who bemoans the fact that the traditional soft Korean tofu, as well as some Korean vegetables, are hard — if not impossible — to get in New Orleans.

It is excellent. Silken tofu is served in broth with seafood, beef, or pork. You can also enjoy the seafood version with bites of squid and littleneckclams.

“We eat very healthy,”Park: “Not fried foods, but usually steamed, stewed and grilled.”

Park says Korean cuisine is all about balance. Park explained that it’s important to pay attention to the temperature, spice and color as well texture. Korean food tends to be intensely flavored and pungent, and spicy heat can be adjusted to the diner’s palate and request.

K-Town’s entrees include banchan, cold condiments made fresh daily, and served with small side dish. The menu may change, but they could include pickled radishes and marinated Italian parsley. “People see prices, but they don’t know what’s included,”Park: “They are used to Chinese takeout menus.”

K-Town’s menu includes tofu-driven stews priced at $14.99, the famous bulgogi marinated barbecue for $19.99 and the jungol hot pots super-sized for up to three people at $45.99, and all are presented with sides. For appetizers, there are pan-seared dumplings, spicy ramen and japjchae — stir-fried potato glass noodles with beef and kimchi pancake — running between $8.99 and $12.99.

Park has a lunch special for $12.99 each day that will entice diners into trying his delicious cuisine. There’s also grab-and-go kimbap, Korean style maki rolls of seaweed wrapped around rice with marinated pork or beef at the center, for $10.

“Our food is best eaten fresh — we have Uber Eats — but really it’s better to eat hot and just cooked,”He spoke.

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The kimbap is a generous serving of sliced rolls, but don’t think microwave when eating leftovers. “Beat an egg, then dip the pieces in the egg and put on a hot pan – so delicious and the rice gets soft again,”Park:

Although he’s introducing Korean food to the West Bank, Park is banking on the depth of flavor found in the many intricate dishes to attract people from both sides of the river. Park is also planning to open a Korean-style barbecue joint on the East Bank. And he’s looking into making small versions of some of the simpler dishes for festival consumption.

“I know we don’t have a big Korean population, but people who travel to cities with K-towns love our food,”Park: “And now it’s closer to home.”

K-Town BBQ & Tofu offers Korean food in Gretna | Food and drink | Gambit Weekly

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