Although there have been several Korean-inspired concepts to open ITP in the last few years—Gaja in East Atlanta; Hankook Taqueria; and Sobban in Decatur—the new Inman Park restaurant from Richard Tang (Craft Izakaya), CHAR Korean Bar & Grill, will be the first truly intown Korean barbecue concept to open since the now-defunct Mirror of Korea on Ponce.
The menu features Korean food classics like scallion pancake, kimchi fried rice, japchae (chewy sweet potato noodles redolent with sesame oil), and crunchy, spicy Korean fried chicken. When it comes to barbecue, the three-ounce portions of 28-day-aged black angus beef come in many marinated and unmarinated cuts such as galbi and tongue. Everything is cooked on gas-powered table top grills with cast iron grates and drop-down exhaust fans. Unlike your standard Buford Highway Korean restaurant, the homemade banchan and rice are served a la carte. CHAR has a full bar with cocktails, beer, wine, and Korean standards like soju.
Tang says CHAR is not a place that takes itself too seriously, and whimsy and humor abound throughout the restaurant. There is a caricature of Kim Jong-un and his mini-me in the bathroom, and a list of “10 CHAR commandments” written on a chalkboard includes pearls such as: “Unicorns and fairy dust are usually 86’d” and “Political correctness is not part of our policy.” A faux dinner combination on the menu called “Jang Song-Taek” includes three pigs, two cows, a sack of fairy dust, two unicorns, four rainbows, and three bugbears for $9999. There’s even astronaut ice cream and fried Twinkies for dessert.