The grill of never-ending meat
Headed to Taichi? Bust out the stretchy pants. Photos by Tomas Flint
I love summer the most. I always will. However, I will give fall and winter one thing: they make sweatpants socially acceptable dinner wear. As we settle into the cold season, there is a place for the meat lovers among us, and it practically demands that you wear sweatpants—Taichi Iron Grill.
Taichi Bubble Tea has several locations around Rochester serving refreshing bubble tea and light summery dishes like poke bowls and sushirritos. Its newest location in Greece has all that and a decidedly cold weather addition—Korean barbeque.
Korean barbeque is a method of DIY cooking where platters of raw meat are brought out to tables and then cooked by diners right at the shared tabletop grill built into the table. It is every carnivore’s succulent meat-sweat dream come true.
Taichi Iron Grill offers a less traditional but nonetheless mouthwatering take on Korean barbeque. Each group of two to four people shares one tabletop grill. You can choose from a variety of different types of beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. Taichi offers both seasoned/marinated and unseasoned options. To avoid waste, each person can choose up to two options per round. Dining times are limited to two hours, during which you may order as many rounds as you can finish.
The server will assist in setting up the grill with parchment paper and turning it to the appropriate temperature. While the grill is warming up, place the provided pats of butter onto the paper. This is to ensure the meat has a buttery surface to cook on and get a proper sear.
The first round of cooking will require patience as the grills here take a few minutes to heat up. While you’re waiting, try out the banchan! Taichi offers four types—kimchi, cucumber, seaweed salad, and pickled radish. Each one has a very different profile: spicy, refreshing, briny, and sour, respectively. Each guest also gets four sauces/dips including medium spicy chili flakes, seasoned sesame oil, ponzu, and Taichi’s signature sauce (it has salty and sweet notes). All together, these help add varying flavors to each bite of the cooked meat.
My favorite meat options are the traditional beef bulgogi and spicy garlic chimahsal (flank steak marinated in garlic sauce). The bulgogi (along with most of the available meats) is sliced very thin for rapid cooking. It has a caramelized, sweet soy flavor that is almost universally enjoyable. For the uninitiated and/or nervous, beef bulgogi and bourbon chicken are great starter choices.
The spicy garlic chimahsal is highly seasoned but is not too garlicky or spicy (yes, even for people who can only handle mild Buffalo sauce). The onions that comarinate with the flank lend a crunchy note when grilled for a few minutes. Friends I have gone with have also voted for the pork bulgogi and kkotdeunshim (unseasoned rib eye) as their favorites.
You get unlimited steamed buns, white rice, and lettuce to make your own meat buns/rice bowls/lettuce wraps. Recently, Taichi has started offering a small plate of vegetables to grill as well. Mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, and onions were the choices I had on my visits.
Pro tip: Be patient when cooking. While the meat will cook fast and you will be tempted to eat it immediately, I suggest waiting until it turns dark brown. This means you can’t poke at the meat or move it (other than flipping occasionally). When the meat starts to caramelize and gets dark brown, it gets the grill flavor along with the taste of the browned butter. Slap that on a soft and warm steamed bun, add a crisp leaf of lettuce, and drizzle a little ponzu/chili flake on it. Alternate bites with sips of a cold and refreshing bubble tea (my choice? Lychee with lychee jelly) to keep palate fatigue at bay.The meat sweats will be worth it.
As the holiday season arrives sooner than we all expect yet again, consider Taichi Iron Grill for your family/friends gathering. While the food is indeed tasty, what makes the experience fun is the company. You will see who gravitates toward just eating and who is doing the actual cooking! Bonus: When someone brings up politics, you can just “lovingly” feed them some bulgogi. Is there really anything more delectable than that?
Taichi Iron BBQ Grill & Bar
271 Greece Ridge Center Dr., Rochester