At Cho Won, and like at most Korean BBQ places, the waiter does the cooking.
Let me be the first to say that I am and always will be a skeptic of Asian buffets. In most cases these $4.95 restaurants flaunt carpets stained with soy-sauce, showcase fish tanks mirkier than the KGB, and serve hot pockets next to the lo-mein. But far from Emory in Duluth County, Cho Won Buffet goes against the current.
Inside this well-lit restaurant is spanking clean and rather elegant with its hardwood floors. The smell of seared meat which hits you in the face as you walk in ensures that you won’t be leaving.
While Cho Won has three different buffets (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), the gold lies on the Korean side where mounds of seasoned, uncooked cuts of meet await to be seared on the grill at your table. Beside these deep-dished pans of beef are a slew of the usual Korean sides called banchan. Against my natural intuition I decided to skip these theatrics and focus solely on the meat. After piling the meat onto my plate and grabbing some lettuce and ginger to make a wrap, I headed to the table like a general returning home after a victorious battle.
Not today Mother. Today I’m a carnivore.
Endless, endless, cuts of high-quality meat seasoned appropriately with Korean flair.
The meat is tender, juicy, well-seared, and cooked right in front of you. For a buffet with relatively low prices and high-quality meats, I wonder how this place makes any money. Volume only helps so much. Oh well, this place is great and unlike any buffet I’ve been to. And for a college student it’s a gold mine and definitely worth drive.