The Alderwood Mall eating scene in Lynnwood is beginning to change as the neighborhood surrounding is shifting. Lots of new apartments surround the mall and all the new tenants are hungry for fun and tasty places to eat. An exciting new Korean barbecue place has taken over the space previously occupied by an Italian restaurant. California-based Baekjeong remodeled the space and has created a modern, bright and energetic dining room. The concept’s hallmark is authentic Korean food served in a setting reminiscent of the renowned, vibrant Korean Night Markets, with a bit of modern elegance.
The minute that you enter the space all of your senses will be impacted: smell, taste, sound, touch and sight! Faithful to nose-to-tail, no-waste cooking, Baekjeong uses the highest-quality ingredients and premium cuts of meat. Prime ribeye, boneless short rib, marinated pork collar, thinly sliced pork spicy belly and beef mountain tripe are menu staples. The meats are cooked on custom-designed barbecue grills. Beyond the prime cuts of meat, additional menu items include Stone Pot Bibimbap, Kimchi Stew, Spicy Paste Cold Noodles, Cheese Mountain Tripe Fried Rice, Korean pancakes and dumplings. For the adventurous eater, they serve a large selection of beef offal, which includes mountain tripe, abomasum (stomach) and small and large intestine. In addition, the Lynnwood location has an expanded menu and includes lunchtime hours.
Baekjeong’s name is a derivation of the Korean word for “butcher” and it is very meat-centric. Their motto everywhere says “We MEAT again.” The staff were plentiful and attentive. I did learn that they need to hire more people, so if you or someone you know is looking for a restaurant job there are positions available. Many of the staff working the night I was there were brought in from Baekjeong’s California locations to train the folks in the Lynnwood restaurant.
When we were seated, the table was pre-set with a generous assortment of Banchan that included a variety of green salads, pickles, kimchi, vegetables and sauces. If you run low on anything they are freely refilled. You just have to ask for more. We started out with a very tasty and generously portioned seafood pancake that was full of shrimp and crab. From the get-go we knew that we had to pace ourselves. We ordered the traditional Stone Pot Bibimbap that came in a very hot stone bowl and was brimming with rice, meat, an egg and vegetables. We decided to try the “Hodong’s Favorite Combo” for our tableside grill. This included a large portion of Soybean/Kimchi Stew, thinly sliced beef brisket, boneless short ribs, pork belly and marinated pork steak.
Every meat dish arrives at the table beautifully sliced and ready to grill. The staff is available to help with the grilling and the overhead exhaust hoods keep the cooking smoke away from the diners. You can grill the meat yourself to whatever doneness you desire. Surrounding the grill are slots that have a traditional corn/cheese side dish as well as scrambled eggs. It is up to the diner to decide how you want to combine these and the banchan offerings with the meat. We tried traditional Korean Soju and beer with our meal.
It is important to let you know that coming with a large group and a healthy appetite is important. The portions are large and we took home leftovers — enough for another dinner and lunch for a group of three. Everything is served family style and sharing is part of the eating experience. While there are options for vegetarians and vegans, non-meat eaters would be challenged by the abundance of animal products. It is a meat-centric restaurant. At first glance, prices seem expensive. But I will say that the quality and quantity of the food made it reasonable — especially because we took home so many leftovers. Our bill came to about $165 with tip for a family of three.
The environment is very brightly lit and the noise level is loud, so you have to be prepared for that. It is immaculately clean. I hope that the management will consider sound baffles on the ceiling to make it easier for patrons to hear one another. Every five minutes the whole staff shouts out in Korean “Welcome to Baekjeong,” which can be quite startling at first. Eventually, you get used to it.
Baekjeong Korean Barbecue Lynnwood is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The restaurant is located on the northwest side of Alderwood Mall, at 3000 184th St. S.W., Ste 922, Lynnwood. The phone is 425-490-6328.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.