Broward County's Koreantown (around University and Commercial Blvds. in Lauderhill) has its latest addition. Fred and Susan Kim, owners of critically acclaimed Gabose, this year's pick for New Times "Best Restaurant - Broward County," have opened the doors to an authentic Korean pub, Gabose Pocha (or Gabocha).
Roughly translating to pub or drinking place, the focus here is on Korean-style small plates and, well, drinking.
"Gabose is a traditional sit down dining experience," says Susan. "Pocha, on the other hand, is a traditional pub experience. It's a very authentic way of eating and drinking."
With a focus on seasonal fare, the eatery aims to expose South Floridians to Korean food not typically found in the area. Live seafood is flown in straight from Korea. Currently, live abalone is being offered for $25 per piece. When the time for live octopus hits, expect to see it on the menu.
"We're trying to promote it for now," says Susan. "We're not here to make crazy money off of these sorts of dishes, but we want people to experience it. It's not like Japanese-style sashimi. It's served with sesame oil and salt and pepper. The octopus will be wiggling at the table."
In addition to seafood, the menu incorporates a wide range of Korean pub grub. Korea-style fried chicken ($8) is served crispy, flavored with a mix spices, soy, and garlic. Singapore-style chicken shake ($7) takes pieces of dark meat chicken, fries it, and finally shakes it table-side in a proprietary blend of herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon pepper. Pork ear wraps ($10) are the Kim's unique creation (not as tradition as the rest of the menu). It's comprised of braised pig's ear, cut into strips, flash fried, and served in crisp Boston lettuce leaves.
Every dish also has a number of add-on options. Ranging from ramen and rice cakes to cheese and spam, the offerings are typically of these kinds of establishments.
"I love spam," says Susan. "It's so popular in Korea. During the war, the Americans at the bases brought it to the stations."
The mystery-meat is offered in a beloved Korean stew, called boo dae ji gae ($28), a spicy mixture of spam, mozzarella cheese, hot dogs, and baked beans.
Being that it's a drinking establishment, soju (a distilled Korean spirit) is an integral part of the menu. Fred, who has a bartending background, infuses the liquor with flavors, like pear and apple; however, he plans to expand the offerings further in the near future. Shrubs (essentially homemade liqueurs) are also on the menu. Currently, flavors include strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry-basil. The selection of shrubs is also slated to increase.
Opened for just two weeks, the Kims are pleased with the response so far.
"I'm really thankful for everyone showing up and supporting us," says Susan. "We've had people coming in and drinking every night. But we already have deals with Red Cap and Uber set up."
Gabose Pocha is located at 4933 N. University Dr. in Lauderhill. It's open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday. Call 954-999-0603, or visit facebook.com/Gabosepocha.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.