While we were on our honeymoon in Kyoto, Japan two summers ago, we met several locals who highly recommended a Korean BBQ restaurant easily missed among the back alleys of Kyoto's bustling dining district.
Upon arrival, we were seated on the floor next to a wood charcoal grill that was already crackling and burning, awaiting the beef and seafood we would soon order. To our left and right sat groups of 20-somethings, devouring their grilled food and gobs (and gobs, and gobs) of local beer.
The food was great but the atmosphere was truly the best part. Given the crowd, the loud music and the endlessly flowing beer, this BBQ restaurant could have been my go-to place in college (instead of the shitty corner bar I went to for bad BBQ wings and caesar salads), except that I went to school in a small Ohio town, not an urban center like Kyoto.
These memories from our trip came back to me after reading The New York Times' piece on "36 Hours in Seoul." Tadak, a Korean barbeque restaurant, was high on the author's list of "must see places." This article came out at just the right time -- I've been giving a lot of thought to where I'd like to travel next if I could go anywhere, and Korea has made the (long) list. Ethiopia, Vietnam, Madagascar, Montana, Kuala Lumpur.....they all made it on there as well. But I have to say, maybe this article was a sign??