Korean BBQ in The Heights

Veteran Houston restaurateur swaps his Heights steakhouse for upscale Korean BBQ

Houston restaurateur swaps his Heights steakhouse for Korean BBQ

Ritual restaurant sign
Ritual will close on Sunday, April 4.  Ritual/Facebook

Ken Bridge is changing things up. The veteran restaurateur behind the Heights-based Delicious Concepts restaurant group announced that he's replacing Ritual, his Southern-inspired steakhouse, with Mapojeong Galbijib, an all-new Korean BBQ concept.

Ritual will close after service on Sunday, April 4. Mapojeong Galbijib is expected to open in mid to late May, according to a release.

"We had an incredible run with Ritual and would like to thank all our amazing supporters and staff," Bridge said in a statement. "The pandemic was such a difficult time for most of us, and I decided about half way through it that once able, we would emerge as Mapojeong Galbijib and offer guests a new KBBQ experience in a fun and vibrant environment that they have never seen before."

While Houston has a number of Korean steakhouses, Bridge aims to set Mapojeong Galbijib apart with the use of USDA Prime meats, including in-house, dry-aged beef, along with an extensive selection of infushed soju, and housemade banchan. Bridge, citing his travels to Seoul and upbringing as a Korean-American in Los Angeles' Koreatown neighborhood, promises first rate service including a staff that will grill meats tableside. 

Curiously, Mapojeong won't be the only Korean steakhouse to open in The Heights. Dak & Bop proprietor Jason Cho plans to open Karne in partnership with Youtube star Mikey Chen and chef Moul Kim (New York’s Jongro BBQ). Karne also promises to serve Prime beef alongside housemade banchan and Korean-inspired riffs on classic steakhouse sides.

Opened in 2016, Ritual replaced Bridge's Tex-Mex concept, The El Cantina Superior, with a steakhouse that featured an in-house butcher shop and an extensive beverage list that included beer, wine, and cocktails. The restaurant earned widespread praise, including a spot on Texas Monthly's list of the best new restaurants for 2017.