My friends Eric & Alan and I finally hit up the Honey Pig! No, it's not what you think: it's the restaurant in Ellicott City.*** We were quite impressed and I am sure we will head back there again some time. We did it this past weekend, making the long slog from Hampden out to Rte 40 on a pleasant Sunday evening. The place is busy and dizzying, and it's clearly not "homey" and "cozy" like the restaurants you find in Little Korea. Everything is shiny and industrial, with metal siding on the walls all covered with adverts about their sale items and area Korean businesses. I have generally enjoyed all the Korean BBQ experiences I have had as of late, so some comparisons and contrasts are the easiest way to talk about Honey Pig:
- The selection is quite large at all of these places, but Honey Pig's menu is rather streamlined, so you can easily find what you want. I ignored the many signs all over the walls.
- The prices were amazingly reasonable, considering how much we ordered and ate: three types of BBQ (spicy pork belly, beef, and chicken, each about $12-$15), pajeon (didn't catch the price) and a large bottle of Hite beer for each of us. This all totaled a mere $65 for the three of us (about $21 per person). We threw in a generous tip, and we still all put in less than $30.
- The BBQ was on par with what I have had elsewhere, though they cook it with propane and not the wood and charcoal you may find at some places.
- What was better (in my mind) than the Little Korea restaurants? The pajeon, definitely. It was crispier and not too falling apart with scallions and seafood. I could actually pick up a piece and eat it without little pieces dropping everywhere. Much of the pajeon I have eaten before is also very greasy. My friends also noted that Suzie (of Suzie's Soba) usually puts a lot more seafood into hers.
- Perhaps there are Korean reality shows going on in the background at Joong Kak, but I didn't notice. Difficult not to notice at Honey Pig, even with all that's going on.
*** Oh wait, that is what you think? Okay, um... forget that last thought.