Words & Deeds

After ‘long journey,’ Boise’s only cook-at-your-table BBQ restaurant to open. (Finally!)

Magnificent Garden co-owner Danny Cheng has plenty of reasons to be thrilled about opening Boise’s only cook-your-own Korean barbecue restaurant — 50 reasons, in fact.

That’s how many in-table grills will be fired up at 980 N. Milwaukee St. very soon.

Based on the relief in Cheng’s voice, there’s one other good reason. Nobody will be grilling him about construction delays anymore. Originally planned for spring 2018, Magnificent Garden is now set to hold its soft opening on Saturday, Aug. 24.

“Man, I don’t know whether I should be crying or laughing,” Cheng admits with a chuckle. “It’s been a long journey, but I learned a lot. And I think I’m better for it.”

Located in the former home of Mickey Ray’s BBQ — which closed in 2016 — Magnificent Garden will bring Idaho a new dining experience. Customers order raw, marinated, seasoned meats that they cook themselves at tables.

Don’t want to play chef? The 269-capacity restaurant also will offer a menu of fully cooked entrees. Five tables won’t have grills.

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Magnificent Garden is located at 980 N. Milwaukee St. next to the Staples store. Matt Schirmer

Magnificent Garden’s state-of-the-art cooking systems are one of the main reasons for construction delays. The smokeless grills use exhaust designs that run from under the tables. Getting everything installed and approved was not easy, Cheng says.

Customers should prepare themselves for authentic South Korean flavors. The menu includes staples such as beef bulgogi ($12) and bibimbap ($10), plus soups, rice bowls, noodles and hot pots. There also are combination spreads. Want to go big? Try a “Set 1” ($79): thinly sliced beef brisket, prime rib eye, marinated boneless short rib, stir-fried rice cake, seafood pancake, soybean soup or kimchi soup, and tiramisu or honey pancake with ice cream.

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You say Grandpa just wants a steak? Fine. Order him a steak. (Make it a “World Famous Wagyu,” $46).

Although Magnificent Garden is a Korean restaurant, Cheng sees its appeal as wider than that.

“It’s flavored meat that you barbecue yourself,” he explains. “It could be called Korean barbecue. But generally, you just could call it roasted meat.”

Online: themagnificentgarden.com.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
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