I have a large, multiethnic family, with people of most races, creeds, colors. And when we are entertaining guests, we keep an eye to places that can both feed everyone and offer value.  More members than not like spicy foods, and like a lot of it.  And in that vein, back in the day when Bites was an active restaurant we would take my family there.  Understand, my wife generally does not like coconut milk or mint in her foods, and she would regularly request to go to Bites.

Bites is gone now, replaced by Thooms, and the food, while good, isn’t crafted the way the former Bites owner would do. Eric’s masaman beef dishes were a work of art.  But hopefully Tammy and Eric are enjoying their retirement. Toward the end you could see how weary the job would make Tammy.

In the strip malls on the south side of Pleasant Hill, just west of the Pleasant Hill I-85 intersection, are a number of restaurants I take seriously. To mention three,  there is Haru Ichiban, which I consider to be one of the best Japanese restaurants in town (my mother in law is Japanese. I have a little familiarity with the cuisine). There is Sydney’s, a buffet style restaurant that is sometimes really good and sometimes not. Third, a converted  Black Eyed Pea has become one of the more unusual Korean restaurants I’ve seen, Cho Wan BBQ of Duluth.

Korean BBQ has been in this town forever, but it was cooked for you. At Cho Wan the meat is all you can eat. You select the meats yourself, you cook the barbecue yourself, at your table. When it opened it was packed. Korean families in tens and twenties filled the restaurant and the average food bill (they had too many bills to hide them) were running about $300.00 – 500.00. I asked relatives in San Francisco, former coworkers in New York City, net-friends in Seattle whether they had heard of any other Korean restaurant using this arrangement. And at the time I heard of no one else doing this.

Cho Wan succeeds because it’s a “one of” in Atlanta, and the price is not exceptional if you’re prepared to eat a lot of BBQ. This restaurant is what my relatives from San Francisco ask to go to when they are in town. This is where my sister-in-law celebrated her birthday. This is where my wife celebrated her last birthday.  In the price/value equation, this restaurant hits a sweet spot with my family.

Cho Wan on Urbanspoon