GEN KOREAN BBQ HOUSE
ADDRESS: 2721 Seaglass Way, Oxnard, CA 93036
Korean BBQ is something that I haven’t gotten to eat much since moving down to the southern Maryland area. For those that aren’t familiar, it’s a fun experience because a grill is embedded into your table, where you cook all your food for the meal. The waitstaff brings out any of the raw meats that you ordered and you’ll be in control of your culinary fate from there. When I worked at my last job up closer to D.C., my friends and I would frequent some local Korean BBQ houses in Annandale, which was an area hotspot for Korean food.
This past weekend marked the start of my family’s two week trip out to Hawaii. However, the first two days were spent on a pit stop to Ventura county (west of Los Angeles) to tag up with my brother Kevin living there, so we could get everyone together before flying out to the islands. Kevin suggested that we hit up the local Korean BBQ house; it had probably been at least a year since I had eaten that cuisine, so I was pretty stoked about it.
Our first night in California marked our first attempt to go there — the place, however, was packed with people. We were quoted about an hour and a half wait at 8 p.m., too long for our hungry stomachs to hold out. We decided to venture back to the BBQ house the following night, with much better luck. With a party of five (we picked up Kevin’s girlfriend Alina on the way), we were seated in about five minutes of arriving. We timed it well too, since the place started jamming up with a line out the door not long after we got there!
The design of the restaurant had a lot of modern aesthetics to it, featuring a blend of glass and wood elements. 10-foot tall glass windows at the front entrance gave a view inside the restaurant, with more glass panes dividing the dining room into different sections once inside. The front dining area was well-lit during the daytime, due to the proximity to the windows. Larger groups were sat further into the restaurant, with some of the higher capacity tables having two grills.
The concept of the restaurant was pretty easy: pay $20 per person and order as many of the 30+ items that they offer on their menu. They certainly had a wide selection available: pork belly, bulgogi (chicken, beef, or pork), shrimp, beef brisket, you name it. We ordered a ton of food during our first round, so when the waitstaff came around to drop off all the items, our table became so crowded that we needed to start putting the plates on the window counter next to us.
We loaded up the grill with everything we could, but even then we still had plates piled up with raw meats waiting to get cooked to deliciousness. From the raw meat perspective, I think that my favorites were all three of the bulgogi items and the pork belly. We also got two plates of their fried chicken (sweet & spicy and sesame), both of which were also tasty additions to the meal.
I was excited to try out Korean BBQ on the west coast, since I had heard much about its popularity on this side of the U.S. Overall, I think that Gen did satisfy my Korean BBQ craving, but did not exceed my expectations. I wouldn’t mind going back there again, but I’m not sure if I would wait out an extended period of time to get a table (like what seems to happen frequently).
Let’s now take a look at the Gen Korean BBQ House Dish Listing. This is done a bit differently from my traditional dish photos section, as there were a ton of items that I sampled. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
Gen Signature Steak
Premium Chuck Rib Eye
Thinly Sliced Premium Beef Brisket
** Gen Beef Bulgogi **
Thinly Sliced and Marinated Sweet & Savory Beef
** Gen Pork Bulgogi **
Thinly Sliced and Marinated Sweet & Savory Pork
Premium Beef Belly
** Chicken Bulgogi **
Marinated Sweet & Savory Chicken
** Samgyubsal **
Premium Pork Belly
** Smoked Garlic Samgyubsal **
Marinated Pork Belly with Smoked Garlic
** Miso Samgyubsal **
Marinated Pork Belly with Miso
Marinated Shrimp with House Special Cajun Sauce
Marinated Garlic Calamari
** Crispy Sesame Chicken **
Fried and Marinated Chicken
** K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken) **
Fried and Marinated Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
And finally, here are my rankings for Gen Korean BBQ House:
Food: 4 / 5
While the selection was pretty extensive to cater to a variety of tastes people might have, I think that this might have been a case where quantity detracted from the quality. With over 30+ offerings, some of them missed the mark flavor-wise.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
Like I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the modern feel that the glass and wood design elements brought to the overall ambiance. The consistent sizzling noises from neighboring tables, accompanied by the smells wafting over, made you even more anxious for your food to finish cooking.
Service: 3.25 / 5
My general impression from the waitstaff was that they were more interested in turning the table to get more people in the restaurant, rather than making you feel welcome dining at the restaurant. Our waitress always seemed like she was in a hurry and we had to consistently request to get our waters refilled. Spent plates piled up until we motioned for them to get taken away by other waitstaff in the area.
Price: 4.5 / 5
With a $20 / person price tag for dinner ($15 / person for lunch), the volume of food that you could consume just can’t be beat. Give me a few plates of the pork bulgogi, garlic pork belly, and the crispy sesame chicken and I’d be all set.