It’s a vegetarian’s worst nightmare, a meat lover’s wet dream, and for everyone else–it’s just a damn good place to go for a totally unique dining experience. If you’ve never tried Korean barbeque, now is the time, and Porky & Porkie at 11th and Washington is the place.
Each table is equipped with a piping hot grill and tongs, and unless you’re of my 90-year-old grandmother’s “I’m not going to pay to cook for myself” mentality, you’ll love it. Plus, all the hard parts of cooking (cleaning, chopping, and marinating) are done for you, so all you’re left with is the fun part – grilling.
As friendly staff member Tom Tran (not related to owner Khiem Tran) pointed out, “some people like their meat well done and some prefer it rare. This way, everyone is happy.”
Porky & Porkie has an a la carte menu, but the buffet is unbeatable at $10.95 for lunch and $14.95 for dinner. And this way, you get to try everything, refilling your plate as many times as your belly will allow.
There are a few vegetables on the buffet, including broccoli, hot pickled peppers and onions, but the main attraction is heaps of flavorful raw meat, thinly sliced and marinated in delicious Korean spices. Chicken, pork, pork bellies (basically strips of fatty bacon), and my own personal favorite–rib-eye beef–are piled high next to ox tripe and chicken large intestine for the more adventurous palates.
Free side dishes of raw shrimp, squid, scallops, and fish balls were delivered to our table, along with pickled vegetables (kimchi) and a Korean barbeque sauce that tastes amazing on absolutely everything. Some of the sides (like the kimchi) are quite good, and some aren’t as great (like the tasteless fish balls), but all are free, and the selections vary depending on the night.
Fresh fruit makes for a light, healthy dessert or a tasty palate cleanser between courses, but don’t waste time with the melon or oranges. Instead, go straight for the sweet, juicy pineapple chunks, and grill them until slightly blackened.
Porky & Porkie is still waiting on a liquor license, but in the meantime, you can BYO, or, even better, do as we did. Order a drink from the bar, and you just might get it for free, since they can’t legally charge for it without a license. But this won’t last long, so hurry up and get there.
When I asked Tom Tran why they chose the name “Porkie & Porky,” I got a confusing answer about pork (the food) and Porky’s movies and just wanting to have a fun name. (Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me either.) But after a few bites of savory rib-eye beef, I stopped listening. I was too busy stuffing my face to care what they call it.
Porkie & Porky, 1111 S. 11th Street, 215.468.8389 (If you’re superstitious, this lucky address is one more reason to go.)