Old Standby: Brothers Korean Barbecue
A typical sight at Brothers Restaurant
One Tuesday evening, I accompanied one of my roommates to an Irish bar on Geary Street in the Inner Richmond. Fifth and Geary, to be precise. I like the Inner Richmond; with the Inner Sunset it’s the neighborhood on the west side of town that has the most going on in terms of bars and restaurants and generally interesting human activity. However, I don’t always categorize Irish bars as such; they’re populated by-and-large by younger men from the Puke-Green Lily Pad across the Atlantic who tend to play on my tender nerves in an unpleasant way. Nevertheless, I was feeling a little hemmed in by our four walls, so off I went to Abbey Tavern to throw a few back with said roomy and a bevy of brawling Brendan Behans. I immediately regretted it upon arrival, so to assuage that emotion I commenced to throw back quite a few beers, trying to get in touch with my own Irish-ness (which comes by way of Scotland). Eventually I gave up and left to go a few doors down to Brothers Restaurant.
Brothers BBQ is well-known among S.F food enthusiasts and, in the event they read my stuff, they’d quickly file this away in the Yesterday’s News binder. Fuck them. I’m writing this with people in mind for whom Brothers will be a great discovery. It’s been around for years and years and has a very good reputation. They make all their Banchan (little plates served along with the rice to accompany your meats of choice) in-restaurant or at the owner’s house, which is clearly a point of pride. Like most Korean BBQ joints, the diner has use of a grill embedded in the center of the table. They also offer to cook the meat in the kitchen, but that spoils a lot of the fun. Nothing approaches the delight of being pleasantly drunk on soju, sake or beer while handling raw, marinated meat near a glowing griddle, occasionally utilizing a giant pair of scissors to snip apart a rack of small beef ribs, and then creating a little lettuce leaf taco, first applying rice, then the meat, and finally topping the whole thing with your Banchan(s) of choice, be it the stalwart and diverse Kimchee, Kongnamul (blanched and seasoned soy bean sprouts) or any of the other endless varieties, which can constitute great meals in-and-of-themselves.
Having had your fill of kitsch and blather at whatever watering hole you’ve escaped from, you might soothe your frayed wits with Brothers’ winning marriage of harsh fluorescent light, booze and excellent drinking food. Serving food til 12am.
4128 Geary Boulevard (between 5th & 6th Avenues)