Food for Thought: Ember Korean Steakhouse

This Fort Myers restaurant offers Korean tabletop barbecue.

Photo by Vanessa Rogers

Why We Love It: As strips of wagyu sizzle inches from your plate, the thrill of this authentic Korean tabletop barbecue experience is in the theatrics. You’re pulling the strings, with a helpful server swooping in here and there for an assist. It is a true team effort best experienced with a few friends or clients—a way to test your collaborative skills while having more than a few laughs. (But if you’re slammed and can only swing a quick bite, the menu is also packed with sushi and Korean small plates like golden kimchi-stuffed potato pancakes and stir-fried japchae noodles.)

Ideal Meal: Go for a “Butcher’s Feast” combo—you’ll have fun debating the nuances of firing up pork belly, New York strip and brisket. But if you must pick one type of meat, the galbi short ribs are the clear-cut winner: The meat, peeled from the bones and marinated in soy, comes out so intensely flavorful each time, it’s impossible to mess up even if it’s left a little too long on the grate. Since all barbecue comes with soup and salad, plus unlimited little sides called banchan (a lot pickled, like kimchi, daikon and more), you don’t need more— but you’ll want to explore dumplings, oysters, shishitos and a spot- on dolsot bibimbap, a rice bowl where the edges crisp and a runny egg cooks as it’s mixed with the hot ground beef.

Vibe: Nearly every table in the spacious contemporary dining room the size of an Olympic pool has its own grill to dive into and test your skills. The bar, in a separate space, is illuminated by accent lighting and lively chatter. An extensive cocktail list is irresistible no matter where you sit—and, moreover, the whole place is designed for fun, however you define it.

7091 College Parkway, Fort Myers, 771-8818, facebook.com/embersteakhousefortmyers