My co-worker is a bit of a foodie and also an avid enthusiast of Asian culture. At the very least, I wanted him to share some of his experiences at the local eateries, but he ended up naming a few good ones in the process. Ma Cherie had a surprise prepared for me in the evening somewhere in Ossington/College area and the weather was splendid, so we picked our bikes and went up Euclid to explore Korea Town.
clear like water, unassuming
A myriad of small and seemingly family owned places are scattered around the few city blocks forming Korea Town. Our place was across the street from PAC Mart – a big supermarket with some interesting choices to explore one day. Korea House does look relatively upscale comparing to surrounding eateries. All seems to be in the right place: high quality food photos, clean logo and non-shabby outside trim. We might have walked in here on our own if in the area by chance.
some mushroom smell
Its 18:30, the place is somewhat empty, but there is humming and tension in the air. Small staff is running around like in anticipation of a large client intake. Maybe they are just preparing for us… At any rate, we got a neat cabin in, what seemed to be, a stylized Korean village set up - exposed roof rafters, korean writing-saturated wallpapers (which ma cheri approved of) with promotions and photos glued here and there around us.
alcohol coming though, slowly releasing the smell
Few minutes in we had our water to calm down the thirst. We started to research the menu shortly. The offering was more pleasantly executed than in the absolute majority of smaller places we visited lately. The list was not overly long and supplied by pictures corresponding with dishes. Some entries could use a bit more description. Our waitress (and I suspect the owner) was brutally efficient. There was a picture of today’s special (Don Katsu) on the wall. Looked like meat and rice which we promptly asked for. In addition, we inquired about the seafood pancake (Hae Mul Pa Jeon), but settled with a vegetable option instead. The waitress vanished and we were left alone.
The food started arranging within minutes…It did not look like what we ordered and was served to an empty table nearby which we shared the cabin with. The plates with steaming goodness filled the space, but there were no one to eat it. We patiently waited for our meal for another 10 minutes toying with a petty crime idea. The kimchi on a neighboring was calling for attention. But we waited and soon enough our meal arrived. My co-worker did warn me that there will be free side-dishes to supplement the main course, but all our stuff arrived at once and these small dishes came last.
light to drink, simple, but refreshing taste
Our vegetable pancake looked more like a large omelet loaded with pan fried bell peppers, onions and zucchinis. If we were not at a Korean place, I would have confused it with a traditional western omelet sans ham. Our waitress cut it with scissors into pizza slice sized pieces. It came with a soy-sauce based side. The beef with rice looked exactly like presented on the picture and was served with a barbeque sauce. The beef had a nice crispy coat of corn/bread. We had three small plates given as side dishes: kimchi, marinated zucchini and sprouts. I would highly recommend the fluffy, egg pancake (don’t even know why its called like that…definitely an omelet). The beef on the other hand…I wish the waitress/owner was not as busy and spent a bit of time recommending something more exiting. The dish was exactly what was expected. We did not end up finishing the abundant white rice which accompanied the meat. Side dishes were delicious! From what I understood, they just get refilled on the house if depleted, but we had a show to catch so there was no chance to test it.
tingling and biting notes on the tongue
A lovely place in the middle of Korea Town! We did not try their traditional alcoholic beverage unfortunately and had no time to experiment with dishes further. It is authentic enough to have a taste of Korean culture, but not overly intense nor expensive to push foreigners away.
Overall, a commercial Soju widely accessible and quite decent.