Last year we did a write up on Charlotte’s dismal shortage of Korean restaurants, highlighting the only three options in town… and one of them is actually in Matthews.
Since then, Seoul Food Meat Co. has opened in South End, but they describe themselves as “a southern BBQ restaurant with a heavy Korean inspiration.” So for the real deal Korean dining experience, selection remains slim.
But what our Korean restaurants may lack in number, they make up for in personality. One is inside an international supermarket, another is in an old Long John Silvers and one, which we’ll take a closer look at here, is located in the back of a small specialty Korean market.
PePeRo is a hidden gem in the greater Charlotte dining scene.
The simple restaurant, located on Monroe Road just south of Charlotte, is little more than two rows of tables in the back of a Korean market.
If you’re unfamiliar with Korean cuisine, a photo-heavy menu will help guide you.
There’s also a button at each table that you can push to summon your server, either to order more food or to ask more questions.
Bulgogi, grilled marinated meat, and bibimbap, a warm rice dish topped with vegetables, chili paste, meat and egg, are two popular traditional Korean dishes.
Kimchi, a spicy fermented vegetable condiment, is also a staple.
Our hungry crew kicked off the meal with steamed dumplings ($5.99), yaki mandoo (fried dumplings, $7.99) and a crispy seafood pancake ($10.99).
And two out of our four diners went with soup entrees—a bowl of gai bi tang (beef broth with short rib, $9.99) and gamjatang (pork neck bone soup, $12.99).
The table was dotted with small bowls of kimchi, rice, seaweed, bean sprouts and tofu skin. Heat radiated off a stone bibimbap hot pot. The pork neck bone soup sizzled. Dining at PePeRo is a full sensory experience.
After dinner, don’t forget to wander the aisles of the market.
And stock up on dessert for the drive home.