Last October, Husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa where we promptly got suckered into buying a timeshare with their Grand Vacations Club. Fast forward a few months later, we get a call inviting us to stay at the Las Vegas HGVC on the Strip for a whopping $99 (plus tax & fees) for 3 nights. $99 (plus a few hours listening to some guy try to sell us on an upgrade) for 3 whole nights? Um, okay, sure! We decided to take advantage of this deal during my birthday since it was a major one…the BIG 3-0.
One of my friends moved there a little over a year ago so we met up with him Friday night for dinner. Since Dan and I have only ever hung out on the Strip (there’s more to Vegas???) we were unaware of what was off it food-wise. My friend, D, took us into the Asian district for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Honey Pig. As we drove to it, I oogled all the shopping centers filled with various Asian eateries – Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai… I told Husband that we were renting a car next time cuz I wanted to explore and EAT!!!
When we got there, the cartoon-y and cute pig logo confirmed this was a sister restaurant to the Honey Pig in Los Angeles’s Koreatown which I have never been to.
The place was fairly empty when we got there. We were quickly seated and then…ignored? The two serving ladies seemed to be quite busy and yet only three other tables were occupied. It isn’t a huge space but still, for a place where you cook your own food, how busy could the waitresses be on what appeared to be a slow night? And two of the tables finished up and paid before we even got our order taken. It seemed the tables that got the most attention were those with Korean speaking-customers. And I, unfortunately, am the black sheep of my family; I don’t speak Korean. My relatives laugh and think it’s cute whenever I try.
Well, the waiting gave me time to survey the place. Right off the bat, the obvious thing that was different was the grill. Instead of the typical grated hole in the table, this sat above and looked like some sort of old war shield. Hrrmmm…. Huge vents hanging high above the table guaranteed that we were going to end up smelling like our dinner. A pretty fish tank sat at the entrance. Overall, it was a small but clean space.
When we finally got to place our order, we got some samgyupsal (pork belly), bulgogi and kalbi as first round. The waitress then brought over the banchan as well as some beansprouts and kimchee which she threw on the grill. This was new… D informed me that it was all for the end dish – grilled rice! Okay… The banchan consisted of a cabbage and lettuce salad, broccoli with gochujang (a flavorful bean paste), pickled shredded daikon, tempeh, and one other thing that I have had but don’t know the name of. I think it could be daikon marinated in a soy sauce and hot pepper mixture. And, of course, the kimchee and bean sprouts on the grill. Nothing was great but it wasn’t horrible…standard fare. I did like the grilled kimchee though as it reminded me of my mom’s kimchee jigae. And at some point, a little dish of rice paper appeared.
The meat arrived and the pork belly was grilled up first. They had sprinkled sea salt on it which really did wonders for the meat. Thick and fatty but still with a decent amount of meat, this was gooooood. When there was room on the grill again, the bulgogi was added. Decent flavors but nothing to write home about. Then the kalbi which was not your typical 3-bone pieces that I’m used to. This was a huge rib bone with some meat hanging off it that got trimmed and thrown on the grill. The bone was taken away. I kind of wish she threw the bone on the grill… We opted for another order, getting baby octopus and chicken. I enjoyed the baby octopus. A little bit of spiciness and we were fortunate enough not to have overcooked them. The chicken was good as well, tender and moist.
We never did get that rice-y end dish that D mentioned as we filled up on the BBQ. It would have been nice to try it but I think if I ate anymore I would have crossed the line from being comfortably full to wanting to pop. Oh well, we can always go to the Honey Pig here in LA.
We did have to flag down the waitresses a few times to get their attention; apparently, one must be aggressive if one wants to eat here. Service was definitely absent.
Price wise, the all-you-can-eat was only $20/pp + tax and tip. Not bad… I’d say it’s fair for what you get. Oh and it’s open 24hrs but I recall seeing signs that the all-you-can-eat is only available at certain hours. I guess maybe they got tired of drunk people stumbling in at 3am and eating them out of the house?
I give Honey Pig 3 NOMs.