Anyone who’s into Korean barbecue will likely remain loyal to his go- to place. But Gogi, the brainchild of a former rock promoter named Pete Cho and his mother, Stella, entered the debate with a friendly, modern approach that eclipses the usual surly grease traps.

Whether you stick to top-notch fried mandoo (dumplings) and a flavorful homemade kimchi jjigae (fermented cabbage, tofu, and pork stew)—or seek adventures involving spicy pork spine, Gogi brings its A-game. And the caramelized galbi (marinated short ribs) cooked on a tabletop charcoal pit, run circles around the stuff at San Soo Gab San or any other K-barbecue spot to which you stubbornly cling.

Perfect for: Packs of ravenous carnivores