Nara has been open for about a month, but chef/owner Donald Chang is finally debuting that Korean-Japanese restaurant's Korean grill room. The semi-private area is partitioned by an ornate panel at the back of the restaurant. Stainless steel, 14-inch circular grills made in South Korea extend from one wooden table to two other conjoined tables when the room is reserved for a larger group, although it will be open to guests in groups of two or more, and it seats 16 people. Air vents above each station, plus lava rocks that absorb drops of fat from the meat will help to lessen the smokiness of a typical Korean barbecue dining experience. Chang said that he wanted to make sure to keep the smoke level down so that diners wouldn't have to go home smelling of the food. The rice that comes with the à la carte meats will turn into a porridge after your meal when servers pour barley tea into the residual grains—a Korean dining tradition.
As for the meat Nara boasts: Texas T Kobe ribeye (bulgogi), Kurobata pork belly (samgyeopsal) and Texas T Kobe short rib (galbi). And because in Korean culture recipes are passed down only from mother to daughter, Chang doesn't know all of the ingredients used in the marinades and side dishes—the banchan. Instead, Kyong Ja Chang and head kitchen chef Esther Cho, Chang's mother and sister, respectively, will prepare those items daily. Some of those accompanying dishes include hand-tossed bean sprouts, a Korean-style potato salad, housemade kimchi, King Oyster mushrooms sautéed with organic eggs, a kimchi with cucumber and a sesame-speckled eggplant dish. Also, if you find yourself in the grill room, order the rice cakes. These spicy little dumplings with gochujang sauce and microgreens were enough to round-out the meal.