In our never ending quest to try out all the late night eats in the GVRD, Lionel Hutz proposed we head out to Nor Boo on Robson tonight. Once again, our hockey game started at the early time of 10:15pm. It seems that "prime time" ice is getting later and later. When I used to organize late night pickup hockey, 10:15pm was considered "cheap ice". I guess even ice time has suffered from inflation. Anyways, Milhouse, Boss Woman, Lionel and myself made our way to downtown for some late night Korean. Kim (I'm Only Here for the Food!) had blogged about Nor Boo before and I had my reservations about the place. But, I went in with an open mind to see for myself. Luck would have it, the place was dark. Much like all the other late night places, I resort to using my flash. One of these days, someone is gonna say something to me about that, I'm sure of it.
First off, trying to flag down a server is harder than finding a parking spot at Yoahan Centre. Is it just me or there is never good service to be found at Korean restaurants? Is it a cultural thing or something? Is it some kind of alternate reality where unfriendly service is better? It sure seems like it to me. Once we got our order in, we waited. Not too long later, everything came, well, almost. I'll get back to that later... So for me, it was a frustrating exercise in trying to get a picture of everything while dishes were arriving on our way-too-small table. Thank goodness that Lionel has given up fighting me and now is a nice little assistant when it comes to my pictures. We started with the Banchan which included bean sprouts, kimchi, potatoes and pasta salad. Pasta salad??? Looking like it was purchased at the Safeway down the block, I personally didn't like it. For me at least, I've never had that. And even if it was supposed to be part of the complimentary Banchan, it was flavourless and mushy.
The first dish to arrive was the Bibimbab. You'll notice that we didn't get the Dolset Bibimbab and we'd learn to regret it. Why? Well, for one, it was kinda cold and two, it was soggy. The hot stone bowl would've help alleviate both problems. At the very least, Boss Woman didn't hijack the egg this time. I gave her the evil eye when it arrived. While the Bibimbab was a bit of a disappointment, the Seafood Pancake was a complete flop. It was sorely lacking in seafood and was stiffer than Ron Jeremy. Sorry for the analogy, first thing that came to mind (ewww... that shouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind!). Anyways, it was just plain terrible.
When the Seafood Japchae initially arrived, I was quite impressed with the bounty of seafood. If you look at the picture, you'll see mussels, scallops, whole shrimp and squid. It's really too bad that the noodles were quite wet and a bit soft. It did taste pretty good though, no fishy taste from any of the ingredients. We thought the BBQ Short Ribs were a fantastic value. For a fraction of the price that Jang Mo Jib charges, we got a large plate of these babies. They were flavourful, meaty and oily (they're always oily). We particularly liked the addition of onions and mushrooms, it definitely added a different flavour dimension to the standard sweet soy we're normally familiar with. Continuing on with "popular items you'd order at a Korean restaurant" was the Spicy Pork Bone Soup. For me, it had just enough spice and the fall-off-the-bone meat was buttery soft and delicious. Boss Woman remarked that the soup had a sour aftertaste and there seemed to be one. However, the sourness was probably due to the chili peppers.
Now, remember when I mentioned that most of our dishes arrived? Well, one didn't make it. It was the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings. Apparently it was left off the bill and to her credit, the server did apologize. They were quite disappointing though, the dumpling skin was tough and the filling flavourless. When we attempted to get more napkins and tea, it was like trying to flag down a cab in NYC (they just whiz by you). And when I attempted to get the bill, one server just stared at me like I was a lunatic and she just walked away without saying a word to me. Would it of hurt her to nod her head or something? To me at least, I thought the food was sub par at Norboo. However, I did find the prices and portions to be quite good. But I can't get over how bad the service can be at Korean restaurants. It's an exercise in frustration where it tests your patience and resolve.
- Reasonable prices
- Lots of choice
- Open late
- Food execution is lacking
- Service is lacking
- English is lacking