I could barely contain my excitement when I learned that Aurora’s Seoul Korean BBQ Restaurant (one of my favorite spots for authentic Korean) was planning to open a sister location in the Northglenn Marketplace.

I dreamed of steaming-hot pots—such as the bulgogi ttukbaegi with its sumptuous mix of tender, sliced chuck with crispy vegetables and savory beef broth—arriving at my table. I pictured tiny bowls of banchan (the stunning array of a dozen complimentary accompaniments) encircling my entrée, offering the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and hot that makes Korean food so addicting.

Boy was I wrong. Instead of duplicating Seoul’s intimate dining experience with its handful of four-tops and private dining rooms, Q-Table looks and acts like a glorified food court. With 48 tables set in a generic remodel of an old chain restaurant, the cavernous room feels cold and sterile. Missing, also, is Seoul’s exclusive focus on individually prepared, authentic Korean dishes. At Q-Table, Chinese, Japanese, and even American dishes are added to the mix, and all are served cafeteria-style on a buffet. Yes, there’s nicely marinated sliced meat that can be cooked tableside, but the entire experience lacks the exciting freshness and focus that characterizes Seoul’s home cooking.

For my time and money, I’ll gladly drive the extra 20 minutes to Aurora to find the true “Seoul” of authentic Korean cuisine.

Seoul Korean BBQ Restaurant, 2080 S. Havana St., Aurora, 303-632-7576

Q Table BBQ Buffet, 311 W. 104th Ave., Northglenn, 303-280-3888