If you’re a fan of Korean food and Korean barbeque, there aren’t a ton of choices in the Triangle. However, the opening of Seol Grille in early 2020 changed the discussion in a great new way! Located at Cary Crossroads, Seol Grille has been pretty quiet on social media but the restaurant has developed a strong and loyal following. So I figured it was time to check it out with friends over the course of two visits. Let’s face it, Korean barbeque is as much social as it is about the food so I was glad to have some company while we chowed down!
For those unfamiliar with Korean barbeque, you can find a primer here to learn more about this style of cooking. It’s similar to fondue or hotpot, you cook right at your tableside as a group and enjoy all the food action together. Inside Seol Grille you’ll find a super modern space with a lot of white, light woods and polished marble. A very upscale and updated feel for Korean barbeque and it’s perfect for a fun dinner date or party. Large, high-backed booths litter the space along with a more casual curved bar for smaller groups of diners. For $39, it’s all you can eat, not a bad deal but you are limited to 100 minutes so you’ll have to hustle a bit to get the most out of your meal dollars! And yes, be prepared to spend as much time as possible, don’t plan on a quick in and out dinner experience.
As you head to your table, I spy plenty of groups spread out among the large space, predominantly Asian. As we get seated in the booth, you’ll notice the gleaming round grill in front with a lit control panel, some menus, and seven or so small plates prepared for you. These small plates are known as “banchan” and act as side dishes and range from kimchi to marinated bean sprouts, salad, and more. They are mostly cold here at Seol Grille and a good way to get your meal started. While most people do the All You Can Eat (AYCE) option ($39), there’s an a la carte offering of proteins, premium packages of barbeque meat ($90 to $150) along with more traditional Korean entrees and appetizers for lunch. If you do AYCE at Seol Grille, you can also choose from four appetizers (dumplings, corn cheese, steamed egg, and Korean soybean soup). Seol Grille also has a large menu of wine, soju-sake, and beer to enjoy with your meal.
Each round of food ordering allows you to choose from about 20 Korean barbeque protein options like: spicy pork bulgogi, short rib patty, thin-sliced pork belly, lemon pepper chicken, and more. Make your protein choices or let your server choose for you while your grill gets heated up. And don’t forget the apps! Highly recommend the corn cheese and dumplings to enjoy with your meat.
The raw, marinated meat will show up on your table and the server can help you get started with the grilling. At first, we daintily placed the meat slices on but eventually learned you’re better dumping it all on the grill to speed up the cooking process to avoid starvation! You might have to snip some of the meat with shears to share amongst diners and there’s also a pair of tongs to pull off your meat when it’s ready. You’re best off with one of the diners managing the cooking and dishing out the meats but be aware that the server is probably going to eat the least since they will be kept busy!
Within minutes, the aroma of sizzling and caramelized meats fills the air. Some additional tips, Seol Grille offers you three sauces for each diner: chili, chimichurri, and a soy paste for dipping your meat into. You may want to order some lettuce leaves and rice along with your meats. One way of eating Korean barbeque is to grab a leaf, dab some sauce on top, plop in some rice, and your cooked protein to eat as a wrap, yum! My favorites for Korean barbeque at Seol Grille are probably the spicy pork bulkogi, lemon pepper chicken, and short rib patty.
Service has been prompt and courteous during my visits and the place is super-clean inside. They’ll pull off grill-tops as you cook and get them charred up. Overall, dining at Seol Grille is a fun and tasty experience that works well for dates and smaller parties. I’m not sure what table options you have beyond four people but that seems to be the maximum number you can effectively space around the gas grill! While a meal here is certainly not cheap, it’s a unique and fun dining experience if you’re near Cary Crossroads and up for something different. It’s the most modern option that I’ve seen for Korean barbecue in the Triangle. And of course, come hungry wearing your stretchy pants!