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Korean BBQ is hands down one of the most delicious, and fun, types of cuisine. The interactive nature of it makes for a great special occasion meal with friends or family. Insa, a new K-BBQ spot in Brooklyn’s up-and-coming Gowanus, is the perfect spot to wet your feet, and your appetite, if you’ve never experimented with this type of food before.
Insa sports an enormous dining room, with large, well-spaced communal tables. When you order food to put on the grill, complimentary accoutrement are brought to accompany your meat. These little dishes (which usually include kimchi, marinated burdock and lotus root, and potato salad) are called Banchan and they’re standard in Korean food. The selection at Insa was above average; and it included a baked egg custard that I had never had before. Once we finished each and every bite, we were granted complimentary seconds.
We ordered brisket (Yangjimeori) and short rib (Kalbi). In Korean BBQ, the meat is brought to the table raw and marinated, and you cook it yourself on a grill located in the middle of the table. Alongside the meat, is lettuce, shiso, and a couple of dipping sauces (sesame oil, and something spicy). The preparation of the beef at Insa was outstanding. It was absolutely bursting with flavor, and beyond tender.
Along with the main event, the meat, we also got some smaller dishes to share. A crispy, spicy rice cake plate, as well as a traditional vegetable Jap Chae (sweet potato noodle). Suffice it to say that each plate was nearly licked clean.
The only thing that didn’t quite hit the spot at Insa was the prices. That said, I’d still happily return. Some luxuries are just plain worth it.