I work in an office stuck in a residential area. It has a very small cafeteria which boasts of daily specials like “hamburger” and “wonton soup.” Don’t get me wrong, I like the old standbys just like anyone else but sometimes a little variety is in order.

That’s when those of us who are lunchless, or at least pretending the leftovers in the communal fridge can last another day, plot a trip to Koryo Korean Barbeque.

Koryo, Calgary

Koryo is in the food court of the North Hill Mall but it’s no ordinary fast food. It cooks up delicious Korean BBQ on the open grill. The thinly sliced beef, short ribs and chicken (dark meat) are marinated Korean-style – usually in soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, minced onion and some sugar. No preservatives or MSG it says.

It’s so yummy. And it’s fast. This is a mall counter after all.

There’s a “Jumbo Combo” for $8.49. But for $6.50 you can get the standard order of one meat with rice and a choice of two veggie sides.

Now here is what separates the regulars from the newbies. Do not be swayed by the kim chee, cold bean sprouts, broccoli, tofu or green beans. Yes, they taste good and are healthy to boot but trust me, go straight for the garlic potatoes.

Crunchy on the outside and garlicky all over. Then there’s a slight sweetness that brings heaven to the middle of the workday. Much discussion in the office of what’s in these glorious potatoes.

A Chowhounder tried to replicate the potatoes at home and suggested this: “Dressing is a combo of mayo, rice vinegar, soy, minced garlic, and sugar. You’ll have to just drip a bit of the ingredients into the mayo until you get the right flavour, but this worked for me, more or less.”

Koryo, CalgaryWith the clean font and design, I assumed Koryo was a chain from the U.S. But its head office is in Calgary with three locations here, two in Ontario and one in West Vancouver so far. Its Web site says it plans to open franchises around the world – then I’m confident Koryo’s garlic potatoes will bring peace and harmony to the planet.

Until then, back to work.

Koryo Korean Barbeque, click for menu here and locations here.

Koryo Korean BBQ (North Hill) on Urbanspoon