I first visited Cho Sun Ok with a Korean friend and it was my introduction to Korean barbecue. I’ve now been going to this place for over 10 years, so it’s a bit surprising that I’ve never written about it.
Partly, it has to do with the fact that I rarely write about a restaurant when I visit with other people (re: “other people”, I mean non-food nut blogger types). I also feel kind of awkward photographing food with other people around – especially with the new DSLR. I think another part is a subliminal desire to keep this one to myself.
A. and I visited on a slow night for bulgogi (sliced beef marinated in soy, sugar, sesame oil and garlic) and mandoo (steamed dumplings).
Most Korean restaurants seem to have their own mix of banchan – I’ve been going to Cho Sun Ok for so long that I’ve become familiar with, and expect, what they typically offer (for some of these, the names are correct – others are a guess):
- Cheongpomuk – mung bean jelly w/scallions, soy & chili
- Moo saengche – seasoned shredded daikon
- Kongnamul muchim – seasoned bean sprouts
- Miyeok muchim – pickled seaweed
- Gamja jorim – spicy potatoes
- Oi – cucumber with salt and sugar
- Baechu kimchee – fermented napa cabbage with chili and salt
There were a few more, but I honestly can’t recall (c.f., dining with other people – above).
Candidly, what makes Cho Sun Ok special is the fact that they are just very good at what they do. The food is consistently good (my favorite spot for mandoo and galbi). Even when busy, the service is always attentive and friendly (unless you’re being a prig – then you’ll hear about it). A. had never eaten Korean before. Amusingly to me, slightly embarassing to her, my slack attempt at explaining how to fold the meat, rice and ssamjang (fermented bean curd with chili) had the waitress demonstrating and hand feeding her while tending our grill…
Cho Sun Ok is set back from Buford Highway and can be easy to miss. It’s located in an ’70s era Pizza Hut building next to a Tower liquor store (seems to be a recurring theme for me lately – dining next to liquor stores…). It’s also two doors down from a White Windmill location – then again, soon everything will be two doors down from a White Windmill.
Cho Sun Ok
5865 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340-2421