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Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series: GOGi Korean BBQ

Meats on meats and a deceptive chicken stir fry…

If you’ve never had Korean BBQ, GOGi is a welcoming venue to give it a shot. With an intimate atmosphere and plenty of seating, you can grill meats to your hearts content, drink soju you never knew existed and eat a few sides that make you go “wait, what was that again?” It’s a fun food adventure for Korean BBQ newbies and an excellent spot for more seasoned veterans.

GOGi sits just past the Refectory on Bethel Rd. You may have seen it driving by and wondered, what are all those cars doing there? It’s an insanely popular place and you can definitely expect a bit of a wait if you go from 6pm or after. The list of items at GOGi seems almost endless and can be a bit overwhelming initially, but trust us, it’s worth it. Come for the meats, stay for the K-Pop music videos.

We received a pro tip that the Spicy Chicken Stir Fry was a must for our list, so we snagged that and an order of the Beef Brisket. In most cases when we’ve gone to GOGi, we only get the Beef Brisket or one primary meat. The reasoning for that is that a) it’s a big ol’ pile of meat and b) that’s not the only thing that comes with your meal. At GOGi (and most Korean BBQ spots) you get a broad array of “banchan” or side dishes. GOGi is a bit unique in that their sides change daily and it’s the chef’s choice as to what comes out day-to-day. Regardless, you typically get 6 to 9 of these small sides, a steamed egg (Gyeran-jjim), a bowl of stew, and rice. It’s plenty for two people and fairly priced in that regard. Be sure to check out the table-side ssamjang sauce as well.

beef brisket at gogi korean bbq by fartley farms

Meats on meats.

Behold! The plate in which our meat sits. Lay thine eyes upon it and revel in the curled deliciousness that awaits. Fatty, beefy, beef strips. These cook pretty quick, so pay attention as you grill them but having been there several times, the lady of the farm almost refuses to get other meats. Not that the other meats are bad, but the brisket is just awesome. We’re not sure if we do it correctly, but I enjoy tapping it into some salt or ssamjang after cooking it, for added flavor.

sides at gogi korean bbq by fartley farms

So many siiiiides…

Starting from the bottom left and going counter-clockwise, we’ve got spicy daikon cubes, pickled jalapeños, kimchi, tofu, seaweed, some sort of seasoned pulled beef, a vegetable of some sort, daikon radish salad and pickled celery (we think?). The sides are there to help complement your meats, so feel free to eat them individually or combo’ed with pieces of meat, just don’t try to get too fancy (packing it all into a lettuce wrap like a Chipotle). It’s pretty simple stuff and in most cases hard to eat incorrectly. Some of the sides have a decent kick to them, in the above picture it was the bottom three that provided the most heat.

spicy stir fried chicken at gogi korean bbq by fartley farms

Next stop, spice town.

Now for the main spicy event, the Spicy Chicken Stir Fry, a mountain of pulled chicken chunks and “vegetables stir-fried in a super spicy sauce.” The lady of the farm took a bite. “Not so bad,” she said as she grabbed more with her chopsticks. Then the heat started to kick in. Sweat on her nose and a weak version of a Ric Flair “wooo.” This dish has got some kick to it. The chunks of chicken are juicy and tender and hold the spices better than the vegetables, or so I thought until we got to the bottom of the dish where the remaining oils and drippings were hanging out. The concentration of spices coating the vegetables definitely got my attention and the heat lingered for a few minutes after we were done eating.

There’s something strange about this dish. We’ve never encountered an addictive heat before, but GOGi’s Spicy Chicken Stir Fry punches you in the mouth, delivering a spectacular flavor and a bit of savory sweetness that masks the initial heat of the dish. As the tastiness up front goes away, the heat starts to mount and you’re left with a satisfying mouth sweat that makes you want to go back for a second bite. The lady of the farm kept poking at the dish, snagging bits of cabbage and chicken, chasing the spicy dragon. We’re not completely sure at this time what spices bring the heat in this dish but will report back if we find out.

As mentioned, the sides and meat are usually enough food for the two of us, so we ended up taking a good portion of the Spicy Chicken Stir Fry home for a late-night snack or a spicy breakfast, who knows. The heat of this dish is deceptive. Initially I was ready to rank it low on the list, but as mentioned, once the savory flavors disappear, the heat pops out like “ta-daaaa.” GOGi also does a nice job of identifying different spice levels in their dishes, calling out in red if it is a 1-5. The Spicy Chicken Stir Fry is a 5, so spicy at its base, but something you could probably still get as even spicier. That in mind, we’re putting GOGi’s Spicy Chicken Stir Fry at #13 on our list, just above Meshikou’s Spicy Mala Ramen and below Tweeter’s Devil’s Breath Wings. If we had a list of most flavorful dishes that weighted the heat and deliciousness, this would probably rocket to #1. This is definitely a dish that we will be getting again, whether in the restaurant or as takeout.

A quick note, GOGi is closed on Mondays, but throughout the rest of the weekdays they take reservations. On Friday, Saturday, Sunday they do not take reservations, but you can get added to a waitlist. GOGi is located at 1138 Bethel Rd. Columbus, OH 43220, US.

Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!

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