When most people think of a perfect Valentine’s Day date, they probably think of a quaint and quiet meal in a dimly lit restaurant, with a few glasses of wine and oysters on the halfshell. For me, nothing is more romantic than a few shots of soju, pickled cabbage and grilled pork belly. If you can’t enjoy garlicky cuts of meat and spicy rice cakes with the person you love (or at least with the person you are slightly interested in), you might as well stay at home and order pizza and turn on Love Actually. But, if you and your partner are into Korean BBQ, Stamford has the perfect new spot for you. Love Meat took over Bullpan on Summer Street in Downtown Stamford, and they rebranded the space into an aesthetically pleasing and open restaurant. The menu is all-you-can-eat, which honestly is the best way to go with Korean BBQ in my opinion. When you are seated around the circular grill, you tell the waiter which set option you and your table are going to be choosing. They both have classic options like bulgogi (marinated steak), pork belly and jowl (the cheek), short ribs and more. The second option is a little more pricey, and features a few better cuts of steak like ribeye, and seafood options like squid and shrimp. We usually stick with the first option, but both are amazing. With the set, you can choose unlimited options of meat, side dishes, and appetizers. While the grill heats up, we mix our sauces on the metal plate. Gochujang is a slightly spicy and sweet chili paste, while ssamjang is a chili and soybean paste which is more earthy and umami. We also mix sesame oil with salt and pepper for a more clean seasoning to really taste the flavor of the grilled meat. Appetizers, known as “banchan” (or small dishes) are brought out first. These include the classic kimchi (fermented cabbage), pickled radish, tteokbokki (rice cakes with a gochujang based sauce and fish cake), and others like a cabbage slaw and pieces of lettuce used to wrap the meat. When the meat arrives, you can either cook it yourself, or ask the extremely talented staff to help (which we always love, because it always is cooked perfectly and cut to perfection). The pork jowl is juicy and fatty, while the short ribs are tender and lean. We tend to order more of the pork and beef options, but they do have others like teriyaki chicken and garlic-soy chicken breast as well. Besides the meat, you also can order a plethora of delicious side dishes. We love the steamed egg casserole (the eggs are incredibly soft and airy with scallions cutting through the richness), kimchi fried rice, the dumplings, and the japchae (cold potato based noodles). We also always ask for individual cups of white rice, to be eaten with the meat and lettuce in a single bite. You should not come to Love Meat if you do not have the intention to enjoy a large quantity of quality food, or if you are not a fan of sharing dishes with everyone at your table. The perfect location, the friendliest of staff, the boisterous and inviting atmosphere, and the most delicious Korean food in Stamford provide for the best experience every time we visit. If you and your date can’t bond over Korean BBQ, maybe you should reconsider ;) Happy Valentine’s Day, and 행복한 발렌타인 데이!
485 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901