You can grill shortribs, chicken, and whole octopus over the glowing coals in your table at Han Yang, but for a real trip, order off the page of soups. They’re the restaurant’s other specialty, and they range from the familiar to the, um, esoteric. Spicy goat stew, white bone and tripe soup, soup with blood — you’ll find enough ingredients there to make your date blanch. (Safer bets are the hearty monkfish and vegetable stew in a chile-bean broth and the crazy-hot but good kimchi chigae. ) Even if you stick to Westerner-friendly kalbi and bibimbap, you’re automatically signed up for a different kind of adventure. Every entrée comes surrounded by a galaxy of panchan, little plates containing tiny tastes of things you’ve probably never kept in your pantry. Let your chopsticks get lost among the pickled daikon, the agar-agar jelly, the potato fritters, and even — if you still need to impress your friends — a school of crunchy, salty microscopic dried anchovies.
Koryo Wooden Charcoal Barbecue Restaurant
4390 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-652-6007