Finally, Pensacolians can meet for meat at the city’s long-awaited first Korean barbecue restaurant.
The Let’s Meat Korean BBQ restaurant held its grand opening Wednesday after a couple of weeks of soft openings from its new location at 6235 North Davis Highway, Unit 116 in Pensacola, beside the PetLand and Big Lots.
The lunch and dinner structure at Let’s Meat is straight to the point — it’s all-you-can-eat for both lunch ($17.99) and dinner ($25.99), with add-on options available.
Each red hardwood tabletop inside the restaurant comes equipped with either a charcoal grill fixture or cast iron propane burner. As long as you bring a little patience in with your appetite, charcoal is the choice, according to Let’s Meat part owner Linyang Li.
“Charcoal is more delicious,” Li said Wednesday. “The taste and the smell is much smokier. A complaint we got at the soft openings was, ‘Oh I’m waiting too long.’ That’s why we ordered (the cast iron) this week.”
Li, one third of a three-person ownership team at Let’s Meat, said your first order of meat with the charcoal choice should be ready within 20-30 minutes. You’ll be eating in just about 10 minutes if you go with the propane option.
The cook-it-yourself style restaurant offers variations of chicken, pork belly and beef bulgogi cuts for lunch. Those options, as well as pork steak variations, spicy squid and shrimp, are on the dinner menu. Restaurant staff will guide you through the cooking process if you’re a little shy.
Li spared no expense in bringing the most authentic Korean flavors possible to Pensacola. He said he paid an actual Korean shop $10,000 for the special sauce recipe used to marinate the aforementioned meats.
“We don’t use any MSG,” Li said. “We use fruit to put in the sauce. We spend a long time to marinade it before serving and I can’t tell you the recipe.”
Pensacola Spanish teacher Courtney Petersen and Air Force aviator Amanda Lundstedt actually met in South Korea before moving to the area in 2017. Eager to satisfy cravings that were two years in the making, Petersen, Lundstedt, and friend Carla Nava sat down for lunch at Let’s Meat on Wednesday afternoon.
“When I first moved to Pensacola, the one thing I was disappointed in was there’s no Korean food here, because I love Korean food,” Petersen said. “I could have lived in Korea the rest of my life, so lately I’ve been thinking I can finally stay in Pensacola the rest of my life because they finally have Korean barbecue.”
The ladies were not disappointed, saying the spicy and marinaded pork belly were both strikingly authentic, along with the kimchi side.
They sat at a charcoal grill table and didn’t sweat a few extra minutes of wait time for a smokier, more flavorful final product.
“In Korea, the newer places don’t have coal but the more expensive tend to have it,” Lundstedt said. “I think the burners would be at the places that wanted quicker turnover.”
Servers bring you four meat choices on your first order at Let’s Meat, and then serve you two at a time each order after that.
All lunches and dinners come with the restaurant’s signature sweet soy and garlic sauces for dipping, as well as sides.
Side options include mushrooms, onions, spicy rice cakes, cabbage, corn, kimchi, salad and steamed rice. The specials also include Korean miso soup or beef soup.
Marinated, spicy and regular Kalbi short ribs are not included in the all-you-can eat dinners and lunches start at $10.99 per order.
Let’s Meat is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. through midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Jake Newby can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8538.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Korean barbecue finally makes it way to Pensacola with new ‘Let’s Meat’ restaurant