When it comes to AYCE Korean BBQ, most people can’t put quality and quantity in the same sentence. Gen Korean BBQ in Tustin, CA refuses to make that compromise. The moment you walk in, you get the sense that this is going to be a different kind of AYCE experience.
If Tron wanted Korean BBQ, he would feel right at home at Gen. Electrifying blue and white lights line the spacious white leather booths, and upbeat electro music plays in the background as you devour your food. Looking around, you realize that the ambience definitely caters to a younger crowd.
This is not the place to just fill up on chadolbaegi and samgyeopsal. Gen is all about offering quality meats and ingredients while still fulfilling their customers’ desire for variety. Gen offers 25 different meat and dish selections. With each order, servers actually bring out smaller portions – not to cheat hungry eaters – but so that each table can try as many different types of cuts and flavors as possible.
#4: Kobe Chadol
#6: Kobe Woosul – Beef Tongue
#9: Saeng Galbi
#24: Spicy Rice Cake (pictured left)
Accompaniments that go with your meats include the standard mixture of sesame oil and salt, sweetened soy sauce, and spicy chili. The standout condiment is Gen’s exclusive salt and green tea powder mixture, which hits the spot for those with a salty palate.
Gen opened in September of last year, but its huge following only continues to grow. A two-hour wait is standard for peak hours and weekends, but the time spent scuffling your feet outside is worth it. In response to the high demand, Gen is in the process of remodeling its former bar and patio area. The remodeling will double the size of space for diners, and Gen plans on finishing its expansion by the end of February or early March.
Gen is open until midnight so it is a popular destination for not only meat-hungry customers, but also those looking for a fun place to drink. Gen just started a Happy Hour, which goes from 9:30pm to closing and includes $3 beers and $6 soju cocktails.
Tips for a successful eating adventure:
- Try to arrive during off-hours in order to minimize your wait time. Weekdays before 5pm and after 8:30pm are usually the best times to go.
- Compared to dinner at $20, lunch is only an easy $15. Keep in mind though that Gen does offer different meats for their lunch and dinner menus.
- Even though Gen gives a 2-hour limit for eating, pace yourself! Order small waves of plates so that you don’t get too full by the time you hit the 1-hour mark.
Gen Korean BBQ & Yakitori Bar
13741 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780
[Photos: Mindy Nguyen]