"Fist Meat" BBQ

Don Sa Ma - (돈사마)
Sincheon, Daegu

The Good+ Juicy "Fist" meat!
+ Quality Bean soup
+ Eggs? Sure, why not.
+ Best Pigskin
The Bad  - Lackluster service
Best for: Groups, dates, drinking    

돈사마 specializes in 주먹구이, meaning "Fried Fists," named for their ability to pummel your palette with deliciousness.  Or maybe the name just refers to their chunky shape.  Regardless, these fists of flavor will pound your taste buds into submission.

They are cut from 목살 (literally "neck meat"), or pig shoulders, which are common contenders at Korean BBQ restaurants.  However, 주먹구이 is unique for their "fist" shape, being slightly pre-cooked, and being far more tender and juicy than anywhere else.  For the average price of \8,000 per 150g serving, enjoy these above-average chunks of pork.

Solidify your fists with their side dishes.  (See numbered picture below)
  1. 샐러드, "sal-lu-duh" (salad) and spicy 콩나물, "kong na mool" (bean sprouts)
  2. 쌈장, "ssam-jahng" (lettuce-wrap sauce)
  3. 상추, "sang-choo" (lettuce) and 게닢, "gae-nip," (sesame leafs)
  4. 마늘, "mah-nul" (garlic) 
  5. 소금, "so-geum" (salt)
  6. 양파, "yang-pa" (onions) in 간장, "gan-jang" (soy sauce) and 와싸비 (wasabi)
Also on the grill are 버섯, "buh-suht" (mushrooms) and a bowl of 김치 (kimchi).  To order more of any side, just say the item followed by 더 주세요, "duh joo-say-yo." (See page on Ordering in Korean)  Sides are always free and unlimited, so knock yourself out.

An accurate scale for weighing a restaurant's heart and devotion is their 된장찌개, (or fermented bean-paste soup).  This salty Soju-chaser is homemade at most Korean BBQ joints, so quality varies greatly from place to place.  At 돈사마, they serve the champion of Jjigae.  It didn't show up until our 3rd round of grilling, but it was worth the wait.  It came out swinging, freshly made and packed with more veggies than usual.

Also varying from place to place is the soup's price scheme.  Here the first one is free with an order of rice, but refills cost \2,000.

돈사마 has another notable stat: free unlimited eggs.  The menu promises 계란 (egg) 무한  (infinite) 리필  (refill) 후라이 ("fry").  After your main entrees, they'll deliver a frying pan, some salt and a bunch of eggs.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, all of them are in one basket.

In addition to their specialty "Fist Meat," 돈사마 offers other pork cuts, such as 삼겹살,  가브리살 and  껍데기.  (Please see the page on Meat Types and spare me from explaining them again).

Their 껍데기 (pigskin) is the best I've ever had.  Here it's marinated, thick and served with a chili soy sauce in addition to the usual bean powder.  Pigskin may be a turn-off for some, with it having a tough and sticky chewiness (and sometimes hair!), although not so much here.  So if you're interested in trying it, I recommend this place.   Among pigskin's health benefits are skin-rejuvenation provided by its abundance of gelatin.

돈사마 is clean, fancy, and unusually well lit.  In fact, the bright lights seem to ward off packs of smokey night-dwellers.  When we went on a Saturday night, the crowd was quite peaceful and tame, with mainly families and couples.  It's an average-sized restaurant, with about ten tables inside, and three more in the courtyard outside.

Everything was great mostly.  But if I'd have to be a Negative Nancy, it'd only be in minor regards to the service.  The young waiters moved slower than molasses.  And half the time we asked for something they'd forget, simply meandering for a moment before being sucked into a motionless blackhole, erasing their purpose in space-time.  As for the owner, after the initial greet n' seat he seemed indifferent to having patrons and rarely emerged from behind the counter.  

돈사마 Is located in 신천 (Sincheon) area along the river of the same name, just northwest of 범어 (Beomeo).  It's about an 8-minute walk from 대구은행역 (Daegu Bank Station), which is two stops east on the Green Line (Line #1) from 반월당역 (Banwoldang Station).  Walking out of Daegu Bank station, exit #4, make a left at your first major intersection, which is 수성네거리 (Suseong Junction).  It's is about five blocks down on your right.  Look for the big white sign above the driveway, with the restaurant set back off the road.

The Address is: 대구광역시 수성구 범어3동 1234
See map

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