Korê Steakhouse, which recently opened in Lakewood Ranch's Waterside Place, is reminiscent of Korean barbecue, but with an emphasis on elevated dining and a focus on high-quality meat and ingredients. Tables are built around grills that guests use to cook their own ingredients, making for a fun and interactive experience.
Selections are listed either à la carte or in curated combinations. Owner Daniel Dokko, who also owns Sarasota's two JPan locations, recommends ordering the combination dinners, which start at $75 for two people and come with a variety of offerings, including pork collar and New York strip. For an additional $20, you can add pork belly, filet mignon and ribeye.
Since this style of meal is best enjoyed with friends, Korê (which is pronounced "core-ay") also offers a combination for four people. Each one is accompanied by banchan, Korean side dishes bursting with flavor and textures to cut through the rich proteins.
But what if you feel intimidated by preparing your own food? Each server is equipped to guide you through the meal, making recommendations on cooking times for each item. These highly skilled servers operate sans tips.
“We offer Michelin-star service with no expectations on return,” says Dokko. Some guests question the tip-free policy, others accept it and a few sneak a few dollars onto the table just because.
Dokko is quick to highlight the dolsot bibimbap, a rice dish served in a hot stone bowl. It sizzles at the table while the rice and accompanying vegetables crisp and caramelize in front of your eyes. Guests can share it at the beginning of a meal, or alongside their grilled meats for a fun and dramatic side.
Perhaps the most surprising element is the lack of smoke in the dining room. A state-of-the-art exhaust system pulls air around the grills underground and circulates new air into the dining room every five minutes, preventing odors of meat and smoke from settling in. As a result, diners can catch a whiff of the delicious fragrance of grilled Korean ingredients outside before they even set foot indoors.
Korê provides a unique experience in one of Sarasota's newest dining districts. It's a new and welcome addition to Sarasota’s burgeoning food scene.
Korê is located at 1561 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch. For more info, call (941) 928-5673 or visit the restaurant's website.