Arirang Garden is one of only a small handful of Korean dining options in Lexington. Tucked just off of Richmond and Mount Tabor Road, Arirang Garden has a surprisingly large dining room, which my guest and I had the run of on a quiet Tuesday evening.
What most people unfamiliar with the restaurant will find perplexing on their first visit are the shiny steel grills embedded in the center of the tables. Arirang Garden is an authentic Korean barbecue restaurant, and depending on what your party orders from the menu, you may find yourself playing grill master for the evening. The menu includes about a dozen “gui” dishes – a generic Korean term for grilled food – with beef, chicken, pork, seafood and combination options, that diners can prepare to their liking at the table (but only so long as two or more dishes from this section of the menu are ordered, my guest and I regrettably discovered after only ordering one, which they cooked for us before delivering to the table). Highlights include “bul go ki” (thinly sliced, marinated beef), “kalbee” (beef ribs) and “dae ji gui” (marinated pork); there were also some beef tongue and pork belly lurking on the pages, and all of the BBQ options are priced between $16 – 19 (except for the combination dinners for two).
And while the BBQ selections probably steal the show, the rest of the menu is chock-full of traditional Korean staples, with a wide selection of appetizers, soups, and rice and noodle dishes (which the chef prepares for your table). Many options here caught my attention, including the “hae mool tang” (a spicy seafood soup), the “chop chae” (a noodle dish with veggies and shredded meat) and the “dolsot bop” (a rice dish with veggies, beef and raw egg served in a piping hot lava rock bowl). Most of these dishes cost between $10 – 13.