Lunch or dinner at Kokiri Restaurant (Elephant Restaurant), an authentic Korean restaurant located at 32703 Pacific Highway in Federal Way, is best shared with a group of friends or colleagues. Guests should expect to stay at least two hours because the meal itself is an event.
While the menu is varied and extensive, the most popular meal is the Combination Dinner Ko Ki Ri Dinner A for six people.
Just as is common in Korea during the winter season, soothing hot barley tea is served first instead of ice water. Ice water and other beverages are available upon request.
Next friendly wait staff begin bringing items to the table. One staff person places large thin sections of marinated meat on the grill at each table. The meats include:
- Marinated Kal Bi – Thinly cross cut beef short ribs that have been marinated in a special barbecue sauce which are one of the most internationally popular Korean foods.
- Pork Bul Go Ki – pork rib eye, marinated in a spicy sauce, gochujang (red chili paste).
- Marinated BBQ Chicken that looks and tastes similar to teriyaki chicken.
At the same time other wait staff load up the table with:
- “Banchan”- small side dishes set in the middle of the table to share. These dishes are served in small portions which are meant to be finished at each meal. Once any dish is finished, you can ask for more of that dish and more will be brought at no extra charge. Included in these dishes are a variety of Kimchee- fermented, spicy vegetable dishes usually made of baechu, radish, or cucumber.
- Denjang Chi Gae- A soybean paste soup with tofu and vegetables which is often called “Korean Miso soup”.
- Rice cake and pot sticker soup- One bowl of this mild, tasty soup is traditionally eaten on New Year’s day to signify that you will be a year older than the previous year. In Korea your age is calculated by the number of New Year’s Days you’ve passed rather that birthdays passed. (So do we get two years older than the previous year if we eat two bowls of soup?)
- Pajeon- This pancake-like Korean dish is made mostly of eggs and flour mixed with green onion. It is like pizza in that several different ingredients can be added to it. Dinner A includes a seafood pajeon which features invertebrates such as squid, shrimp, mussel along with other vegetables such as carrots, onions, etc.
- Purple Rice – While most of the rice in this dish is white rice, the addition of some wild rice and beans creates a deep purple hue and gives it a nutty, rich taste.
- Broiled Flounder- This grilled flounder is seasoned with the house salt rub.
- Jap Chae- These low-calorie potato clear noodles are stir-fried with vegetables and beef.
- Lettuce in which you can wrap the meat, rice and any condiments you want. You can always ask for more at no extra charge.
- Condiments- Soy bean paste, jalapeÃ±o pepper, garlic cloves.
Once all the dishes are placed on the table there is very little open space left. Each person is provided a small plate, soup spoon and chop sticks. Forks and knives are also available upon request. In addition, each table is supplied with tongs and scissors for turning the meat and snipping it into serving size portions. And guests typically eat their soup and sample various banchan while the meat grills.
As is common for most Korean dishes, many of the items are seasoned with sesame oil, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), soy sauce salt, garlic, ginger and gochujang (red chili paste). Surprisingly, Korea is the largest consumer of garlic, ahead of the rest of Asia (particularly China and Thailand,) and the Northern Mediterranean (mainly Spain, Italy, and Greece).
Ultimately, the meal is finished with slices of seasonal fruits per Korean custom.
A reservation is recommended to secure tables with built-in grills. Ample free parking is onsite and a large semi-private room is available to support banquets and parties. To make a reservation or obtain more information regarding Kokiri Restaurant phone 253.838.4288.