I helped give birth to twins! Denver on a Spit & I foisted so much food on Mrs. Denver on a Spit at Silla a couple of weeks ago that I think it pushed her (or rather them) over the edge, & the next time I heard from him 2 days later, they’d already been at the hospital for 23 hours. (The Director did not for his part drop a tot, though he was so full we thought for a while he might. The poor thing just does not have the stomach for my line of work.)
In between feedings, the new dad found some time to back & forth with me on our experience (as we did with Red Tango); his answers to my questions appear here, while my response to his queries—wherein I wax ecstatic about naeng myun (below right), among other things—are here.
Denveater: Silla was quite the hot spot on Friday night…Describe the setting.
Denver on a Spit: Bustling. Korean. I haven’t been to an overwhelming number of Korean BBQ places in Denver but Silla is always packed with Korean familes & couples, young & old. I think we got the last open table & it never slowed down. The dining room is nothing fancy: well-lit, sparsely decorated, but at the same time with all the people in there it is warm, cozy and inviting.
D: What do you like most about Korean cuisine in general?
DOAS: I love the bold flavors along with the varying temperatures & textures of the food. And of course as far as Korean BBQ goes, I love when my meat cooks before my eyes. Possibly the best thing, however, is the fact that there never seems to be enough room on the table for all the food.
D: Why are you a fan of Silla in particular—what do you consider its strengths?
DOAS: The BBQ is ridiciously tender & flavorful. I think we all use the term “melt-in-your-mouth” too much but that galbi—the marinated short ribs—are just that. And I’m glad we all four felt comfortable enough with each other to gnaw on his or her respective bone gristle, because that is likely the best part. Hope I didn’t grunt too loud at any point.
Also the care & quality of execution that go into the numerous ban chan—this is one of the things that makes Silla shine. [They’re mostly very simple—pickled seaweed & eggplant, cabbage & daikon kimchi, stirfried pea stems & broccoli & tofu skin, potato salad, & other odds & ends—&, as such, cooling, soothing & addictive.—D.]
And the button. How many restaurants have a button that summons your waiter? And where your waiter expects you to use it & comes smiling to your table after you do? Granted it didn’t always work in the quickest fashion, but still, you have to admire the thought. [Yes, I bet the button mainly serves as a calming placebo for impatient diners—for all we could tell from the servers’ comings & goings, the thing didn’t even work. But if they generally do, I can think of several places around here I’d want to install them in.—D.]
D: If you count all 12 pan (or ban) chan, we shared 16 dishes (excluding the rice and green salad). What were your five favorite bites, however large or small?
DOAS: There was a salad? [Heh—not only was there a simple green salad (just visible at the far-right edge of the photo above), you were the only one who actually ate it, my friend.—D.] My favorite ban chan was the freshly pickled cucumbers. I thought they were going to be marinated & cold zucchini, but I was pleasantly surprised to bite into an excellent, crisp pickle. The giant dumplings were also a nice surprise. Not sure I have ever had dumplings that big.
And the bi bim bop, served on a hot stone platter, is divine.
D: You talked about getting dessert afterward…
DOAS: I threatened to go up the street to Sunburst & get a big bowl of the Filipino dessert halo-halo, & I might have if it was summertime, but once we got back in the car I just wanted to go home and unbutton my pants.
D: We also talked a lot about Korean film. Two of my personal favorites are Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and Kim Ki-duk’s The Isle, both of which contain scenes that depict memorably shocking acts of cruelty toward seafood. Do you have a fave you’d recommend to fellow cinephiles?
DOAS: The Host is a brilliant film. I saw it at the Mayan a few years back where it played to a packed house. It is probably the greatest modern-day monster movie, so to see it in a theater full of half-drunk & wildly enthusiastic audience members was fitting.
It’s also probably a fine metaphor for our meal, the way we mutant creatures attacked everything in sight…