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Sunday, June 21, 2015


What's Budnamujip, you ask?  It is a high-end and relatively new Korean restaurant in Honolulu where Flamingo on Kapiolani once operated for almost half a century. This was supposed to be our "not-so-expensive" outing of the month, so someone suggested that future meals of this sort be, in fact, cheaper.

There are four Budnamujips, and first outside the country, with the original opening in 1977, and, according to our server, the best Korean barbecue restaurant in the county.  According to Honolulu Magazine, "this is the Korean place to go now, among Koreans."  Yet, doing some research, to be more accurate, two listings of the best Korean barbecue restaurants in the country did not include Budnamujip.  A photo from CNN of the well-marbled beef ready for BBQing :

As you walk in, you notice a display of beautiful Korean artworks.  The air removal system is so efficient that you can't smell any smoke.

Two peeves.  One, the corkage charge is $25/bottle.  Second, if you come alone, you can't have the BBQ.  There seemed to be a lot of Koreans at the tables, but I really can't tell one kind of Oriental from another.

While kalbi (galbi) , a short-rib meal, is their specialty, they have a more expensive wagyu beef, no rib, version.  Above, Henry, Audrey and I shared this expensive beef barbecue.  The  wagyu comes from Nebraska.  It was quite good and almost worth the extra expense ($55/person).

As in formal Korean meals, there are free and small side dishes that cover the table.  Much of this is shared, including the entrees ordered by most of us.  Jerilynn offering her squashed something appetizer, maybe squash.

Our table:

Note my small bottle of Jinro Chamisul soju, a Korean 19% alcohol made from wheat.  I almost brought a full bottle, costing $9, which would have made the tab $24.  This half bottle, or less, cost $15.  My wagyu with butterfish and potato:

I would surmise that there was overall satisfaction with the experience.  The satiated 15 Craigside gang:

Our next outing, at the end of the month, will be to MW's Restaurant.  To quote from Honolulu Magazine:

This is local food interpreted by two former Alan Wong chefs, with a little French Laundry and a lot of Zippy’s thrown in.


Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka, the wife-and-husband team of MW Restaurant, each spent almost 20 years working alongside Alan Wong—Michelle for most of those years as pastry chef and Wade as chef de cuisine.

I might add that they both spent some time at French Laundry, while Wade also once worked at Zippy's.


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