It seems like Loco is popular restaurant name in Korea these day, just last week I wrote about Gusto Loco Moco now it’s time for Locos BBQ. I walked past this place a few weeks ago, after a Sunday morning walk around the park (yes really, I went for a walk, I wasn’t lying on my sofa and vomiting following the exploits of the night before, which is my usual Sunday morning activity). Anyhow we were walking past and the smell of smoked meat was intoxicating, it was phenomenal. My nostrils demanded that I returned as soon as possible, which I did with a group of hungry Texan friends.
The restaurant is large and decked out with wood, cages, and pictures of cows, very slaughterhouse chic. The restaurant is pretty big with a private room, and a built in bar. They had even festooned the room with lots of Halloween decorations to complete the look.
We took a peruse of the menu. The basic premise is that you order you cut of meat (19,800) per person or per 250g then you can add on sides. We got one of everything then ordered up some drinks. There are 4 draft beers on tap (8,000) and some frozen cocktails (12,000). We opted for the coconut and a mango. Though they were tasty and of a decent size, they were very light on the alcohol, they need at least an extra shot in them to bring them up to par.
The food arrived shortly after, first up was the hummus (9,900). When this first showed up we were like, “Where is the hummus?” The pot is tiny, but then after we spoke to our server he told us the hummus was refillable at no charge. The hummus was actually quite tasty with a nice flavour of garlic running through it, and a nice selection of vegetables. But I think anyone not knowing the hummus was refillable would be very pissed off.
Our meat turned up, and first came the brisket and ribs. As you can see the portions are fairly small, only 2 rolls each per person and a tiny pot of coleslaw. The ‘brisket’ has a nice smokey flavor on the outside but we were quite sure the cut wasn’t actually brisket as it just wasn’t tender enough. The ribs had a decent enough flavour on the outside, but they were not pre-cooked or boiled as the meat was holding on to the bones like glue. Even the ribs at VIPS are far better than this so it was very disappointing . In fact the ribs that you buy for 10 dollars in the supermarket and cook in the microwave are better than this. For a BBQ restaurant it’s very depressing. We ordered a side of the beans. These were actually pretty tasty, though they were more of a chilli or spicy tomato sauce with a few beans thrown in that actual beans.
We also tried the pork belly and the pulled pork. As you can see 250g really isn’t much, I’m surprised as despite pork being half the price of beef, we seemed to get less.This was 40,000 worth of food. The meat again had an okay flavour but in no way did it match up to what I smelled that day after my walk. The BBQ sauce that was served was probably Hunts as they had a stack of them piled up, when really it should be homemade. The rolls were those nice brioche ones, but very small. We all left this meal hungry, so hungry that everyone of us on the walk back down bought a meatball sub. I realise that meat prices these days are extortionate, but they need to be a bit more generous with the sides. I don’t think anyone paying around 40,000 each including a side and drink should leave the meal hungry enough to eat a sandwich.
I think this BBQ joint, although the food is themed in the American style, is actually tailored for Koreans and their palette. Anyone looking for real American BBQ will not find it here, so save yourself a walk up the hill.
Locos is located at 83 Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul(서울 용산구 회나무로 83). To get there take a train to Noksapyeong and come out of exit 2, walk straight until you reach the under pass and exit using the left hand stairs. Follow the road around and keep walking all the way up to the top of Namsan hill. Locos in on the left hand side just before you reach the park. It’s about 100 yards or so from the Hyatt. For more information you can call on 02-794-3234.