The narrow, smoke-filled 20-30 Alley in downtown Daegu is easy to miss but once you're there it's unmistakable. Both sides of the street are lined with barbecue restaurants and the aroma of grilled meat fills the air. 20-30 Alley offers hungry diners a number of choices for pork barbecue, but we were two single ladies and one sign in particular caught our eyes: 고기 굽는 남자. Meat Cooked by Men.
There was a short line outside the door at 8pm on a Saturday, so we waited about 15 minutes for a table. When we finally walked inside, the all-male staff shouted their greetings in unison. We were seated in the back of the restaurant, away from the hustle and bustle near the door. The restaurant itself is fairly small and dark, but a bright pendant lamp hung above each table sets the stage for some serious barbecue action.
Our server handed us an English menu. As you can see, there are three cuts of meat to choose from: wang-sogumgui (neck meat) is the cut that is the restaurant's specialty, but there's also samgyeopsal (pork belly) and some "special cuts" which include pork leg, cheek and skirt meat. The prices are reasonable at 8,000 won per portion. Note: There is a minimum order of three meat portions per table.
We ordered three portions of the thick-cut wang-sogumgui. It was delicious, and the portions weren't overwhelming, so even though we were only two people we had no problem finishing our food. The pork came with assorted dipping sauces, and the sides, or banchan (반찬), were good and fresh. Some of the sides were small but ordering more was no problem. The menu also includes additional side dishes you can order with your meal.
Still relatively new to Korean barbecue, I'm sometimes unsure of how to properly grill the various cuts of meat. Having the waitstaff cook the meat took all the guesswork out of it, and made the experience more relaxing. True to their sign, the men of 고기 굽는 남자 did all the work for us--everything from turning on the grill to cutting the cooked meat into bite-sized pieces. Our server was very attentive and made our dinner quite enjoyable. The great service at Meat Cooked by Men literally extends out the door, as the staff shouts their goodbyes, and even offer to spray your clothes with freshener to get rid of any lingering smoky smells.
Single lady or not, should you find yourself searching for a pork barbecue place in 20-30 Alley, I would recommend trying this restaurant. It may seem a bit silly when you read the sign, but what you'll find inside is a great meal.
고기 굽는 남자
Address: 32-8 Dongseongro 3-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu (대구 중구 동성로3길 32-8)