It's been about 2 years since I have reviewed Shik Do Rak (read my previous post here) and although many of the good points remain, some things have changed. As I noted in my previous post, it is very rare to find any Korean restaurant which serves non Koreans (especially non Asians) well; I have literally been told "No, we are not serving" when entering with a Caucasian and seeing that the restaurant is obviously open and serving.
Shik Do Rak still does well when greeting all customers, they still smile and open their doors to all who enter. Since none of us was Korean (they spoke to me in Korean and I said "What?") and one of us was Caucasian, we were happy to be welcomed.
The portions are still huge and very reasonably priced, with huge portions of Kalbi (marinated or not) for under $28; the grill was about 15 inches in diameter and what is on the grill was only about half of one order. Before any meat arrives they toss the onions and mushrooms on while the grill heats. The Kalbi is very well marbled and they provide scissors and tongs for you to cut up the meat safely as you can maneuver it on the grill.
You have the option of cooking your food yourself, or having them cook it for you and bring it out, which they did for our pork dish. The ventilation is fairly good, with huge hoods over the grilling tables (one side of the restaurant has no grills so they cook your order in the kitchen and bring it out to you if you are seated in the non-grilling section to the right). Your hair will probably still smell of BBQ, but not to the point where dogs will follow you home. The pork was tender, slightly spicy, and crispy on the more grilled pieces; watch out for bits of bone clinging to some of the cartilage.
Numerous side dishes arrived before the main courses to be eaten as condiments and although all of us love heat, but the grated radish was too hot to eat more than a few bites at a time, and the gelatinous green dish was tasted and left alone after my friend Mika said that "It tasted like nothing" and had a strange texture. The burdock root, tofu skins, and bean sprouts were all good, as was a slightly too dressed bowl of green salad. Mika had to have rice so she ordered that as a side (all Korean restaurants only serve rice on the side because they feel that if you have meat,fish, and sides, rice is merely filler).
With three of us, we ordered three dishes, so besides the two meat dishes, we had Jap Chae (glass noodles with vegetables and beef). Once again the portion was huge, served on a 15" plate and piled high. It was well seasoned and loaded with fresh vegetables, but I found it a bit oily.
We were the only non Koreans in the entire restaurant, and it was packed. Two years later, what changed? The portions are still huge (we took a third of the food home) and the food is still fresh and well seasoned and I still think that this is the best Korean BBQ restaurant outside of Koreatown. But on the negative side, the one disturbing change was that tables which arrived after we were seated got served, ate and left, before we did and we were ignored after our dishes were served, even after trying several times to flag down a waitress to refill our kimchee dish. The service here is still miles above many places for their treatment of non Koreans, but I am disappointed that they are becoming a more segregationist restaurant rather than standing out as a place were everyone is served without regard to their national origin.