*Location now closed*
While lunching at Maenam, Rich Guy and I noticed a new Korean restaurant across the street. We really couldn't make out the name or remember to tell you the truth. Not really thinking about it, we filed it into our subconscious for the next time we ate. Rich Guy was actually leaving for a couple of months (for real this time) and this was like another one of his famous "going away" meals. Joining us were Viv and Whipping Girl. For tonight, we were originally thinking of visiting Octopus Garden; but we weren't in the mood to spend $100.00 per person. Furthermore, I'm sure my daughter wouldn't be able to appreciate the food there. Thus, we changed our plans and decided to give Dae Bak Bon Ga a go. Apparently the original location is on Robson and the AYCE BBQ or Shabu Shabu is only available there. Undeterred by that fact, we decided to get both the BBQ and Shabu Shabu for 2 people anyways. We added a Dolset Bibimbab and Japche for good measure.
Prior to the Banchan, we were presented with 2 complimentary appetizers. The first being a thin slice of radish topped with meat, shrimp and veggies. We all thought this was bland and uninteresting. The second one was a veggie pancake and it was alright; but we'd prefer if it was actually hot. I guess we shouldn't complain much since they were free. For me, it seems like I get excited about the Banchan more than the actual meal sometimes. I'm really not sure why since they are quite simple. Included in this set was kimchi, seaweed, potatoes, sprouts, green salad and cabbage. They were all carefully prepared and I had to fight off Whipping Girl, so that I'd actually get some to eat. But I was getting all excited for nothing since you can usually get a refill of banchan at most Korean restaurants.
Sizzling hot, the Dolset Bibimbab arrived with lots of daikon, carrot, zucchini, beef, shiitake topped with a raw egg. I quickly mixed in the kochujang with the rest of the ingredients. The darn thing was so hot, I almost burnt myself passing the bowl over to Rich Guy. Don't get me wrong, that is fantastic since it formed a really nice crust on the bottom (which is the yummiest parts). However, even without the hot stone bowl, the rice itself was a nice chewy consistency while still be soft. Predictably (for me at least), we got the Japchae. I guess it's the standard rice and noodles when we go for Korean. Served hot, the Japchae was excellent. The noodles were the right consistency, veggies were not soggy and overall the dish was not greasy. Too bad it was such a small portion. If you look on the plate, it doesn't seem to fill it out much. Mind you, the price is roughly $5.00 cheaper than places such as Hanwoori, Jang Mo Jib and Insadong.
Furiously, the items for our Shabu Shabu and BBQ arrived, quickly filling our table. The staff actually had to move another table on to the end of ours to put all of the items. For the hot pot, we were provided with 3 sauces - chili, soy and sesame. On one plate was thinly-sliced beef atop oyster mushrooms. Whole shrimp, squid, greenlip mussels and blue crab occupied the second plate. The last plate consisted of soba noodles, Shanghai bak choy, Napa cabbage and yams. Everything was fresh which made for a pleasant hot pot. While Whipping Girl and I tended to the hot pot, Viv and Rich Guy did the grilling duties on the BBQ. On a large platter, there was short ribs, spicy pork, beef and chicken. Cooked on the built-in BBQ unit, the meats were good (when not burnt by Rich Guy). Yah, Rich Guy doesn't cook and this further encourages him not too...
At the end we were stuffed and very satisfied with our meal. The food was well executed and the raw meats were fresh and plentiful. Being a new restaurant, it is both clean and roomy. However, the most important thing we noticed was the attentive and friendly service. For a Korean restaurant, that is no small feat. Even without those useless chime buttons (cuz no one ever seems to answer it anyways), we got everything that we requested and the staff actually checked on us every now and then. A solid dining experience.
- The food is made with care
- Decent value
- Great service
- They need to work on the temp control, first it was boiling in the place, then freezing
- As with any Korean BBQ, your clothes smell afterwards