It’s a stand alone building. The name of the restaurant isn’t in English.
Being an Atlanta native, I know the history of food in the city more than most. Because this is the only blog you’ll see that kind of information, I make it a point to include some of that history in almost all my posts. By now you should also already know I love Korean food. I’ve eaten so much of it everywhere. I’ve eaten at almost all the Korean places in metro Atlanta. We used to go to this one and only Korean place in Georgia located in downtown Atlanta when I was in elementary all the time. That’s when I decided Korean was going to be my favorite cuisine.
Tofu 88 on Buford Highway was the Asian Waffle House. It was open 24 hours and served cheap and good eats. It was the place to study on the weekends when most college libraries and coffee shops are already closed. It was also the only place to get the most amazing Pork Kimchi fried rice on the planet. It closed three years ago. Right next door to it was the most awesome Mandarin restaurant that was an Atlanta institution for the non-Cantonese Chinese community and has been around before I was even born. I remember going there regularly for family dinners while I was growing up. After about twenty years, sadly, the place closed. At that time, the Korean boom was just beginning in Atlanta. That’s when Han Il Kwan came into the picture and occupied the vacant spot. About three years ago, when most restaurants were closing due to the economic downturn, Han Il Kwan decided to close and relocate to Pleasant Hill where most Korean businesses are located, thus, having better exposure to Koreans. They got the old location of another failed (yet awesome restaurant) called Seoul Garden (which had the best chap jae). But business began to pick up and instead of closing and relocating, they decided to keep Han Il Kwan open but close around midnight instead of being open the usual 24 hours. They gave the new Han Il Kwan restaurant another name: Seo Ra Beol. You’ll find some of the staff from Tofu 88 here, too. Side note: I saw former Atlanta Falcons Hines Ward eating dinner here with his family two years ago. He’s very nice and humble.
How I’ve never written about this place still surprises me. Just like it’s sister restaurant, this place has amazing food. But unlike it, you will find hardly any Americans (or non-Koreans) eating here. I have yet to see one in the three years I’ve been eating here regularly (well, except for Hines Ward who is technically Korean so he doesn’t count, me, and the friends I take here). The menu is as extensive and mirrors Han Il Kwan except for maybe a handful of dishes. There’s Korean BBQ, soups, stews, and both authentic and mainstream Korean dishes. I love the spicy beef rib soup here. The broth is bold, not thin or watery, and has just the right amount of spiciness. The beef short ribs are very tender and flavorful.
The Yankee in me loves fried rice and I am known to beg any kitchen to make me some if I don’t see it on the menu. The one here has a smoky flavor and not mooshy just like the way fried rice should be. You can basically ask them to make whatever kind of fried rice you want. I get beef with Korean sausages and a fried egg. Sometimes, I beg for kimchi fried rice. Just remember to ask nicely.
This is one of the best places in the city for galbi, Korean short ribs. The marinade they use is phenomenal. It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. They also cook the meat perfectly. Korean ribs isn’t steak. It’s also marinated. Cooking it to medium makes the meat stringy and rubbery. It has to be grilled enough to be a little crispy on the outside without burning yet tender and juicy on the inside. Not very many places can do that. They do here.
The soondubu, bibimbap, spicy beef soup, black goat soup, pancakes, are all good here. So if you’re hungry or craving Korean late night, you can go here (or to Han Il Kwan). You won’t be disappointed.
Note: The restaurant is accessible on both Pleasanthill Rd. and Steve Reynolds Blvd. Please note that the sign is NOT in English. You can read my friend FNS’s post here.
Seo Ra Beol
3040 Steve Reynolds Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096