Mouthful - Korean barbecue

The charcoal edition

HANIL KWAN: Unlike many Korean barbecue establishments, this restaurant shies away from the dark, cavernous look and feel. Instead, the dining room is filled with natural light that pours in from the many windows. Any of the marinated beef selections are tops. But step outside of your comfort zone and order the “bread skin,” thin slices of marbled beef that curl and caramelize on the charcoal grill. The banchan is the only drawback, as it tends to be a little limp on most occasions. However, the large varieties of beef and excellent service make up for this shortcoming. 5458 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-457-3217.

CHOSUN OK: The atmosphere at this “reclaimed” restaurant is as drab and rundown as it gets on Buford Highway, but the food is always fresh and superb. The restaurant utilizes charcoal — a key element in attaining a caramelized char — and the marinade is well-balanced and flavorful enough to permeate the meat. A generous assortment of banchan — from crunchy chunks of radish drenched in kimchi to roasted new potatoes — changes from visit to visit. Ask the kitchen to cook your leftover beef bones so you can gnaw on them Flintstones style or take them back to your beloved pooch. 5865 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-452-1821.

HAE WOON DAE: This little Korean restaurant tucked among a hodgepodge of Latin businesses has been a long-standing favorite for most, despite the salty service and dungeon-like digs. After all these years, they still serve great barbecue if you can ignore the cold shoulder.  The marinade is as good as ever — just the right amount of salt, sweet and tang — and the variety and quality of the banchan is one of the best in town. Feeling a little adventurous? Order the squid that arrives in one large piece then is hacked into manageable bites at the table by your server. 5805 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-458-6999.

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