It seems that "getting a good deal" is something that is harder and harder to come by. Sure, we can merely go for a bowl of Pho and consider a good value, but is hardly a deal anymore. So when Whipping Girl mentioned that there was this great lunch set meal at Sura, I was skeptical. Korean food AND in Downtown? Yah, what kinda deal were we looking at? Apparently there are 2 set meals with one being $15.00pp and the other $20.00pp. Okay, that doesn't seem like much of a deal price-wise, but please stay with me.
We went for the $20.00 menu and it started with a Green Salad. Hey, it was a green salad. And in the words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that". Right behind it was the Dong Chimi, which is a type of kimchi in a brine. The veggies were crisp, pickled (of course) and a bit spicy. A refreshing way to start the meal. Arriving at the same time, we got the Tang Pyeong Chae. Consisting of mung bean "noodles" (not really noodles, but I'll call them that here) and a bunch of julienned veggies, this was dressed in a nice sesame vinegar dressing. Good textures and properly seasoned, I could've eaten more of that, but... then the Japchae was placed on our ever-shrinking table space. This was a well-made Japchae with chewy noodles with just the right amount of veggies and tender meat. It was not greasy and balanced in flavour (not too sweet).
Next, we got 3 dishes of Banchan including Kimchi, Kong Jang and Cucumbers & Carrots with black sesame. The kimchi had a nice crunch, yet could've been spicier in my opinion. I liked how it wasn't too salty. I enjoyed the soy beans as they had a nice bite with a rich sweetness. The cucumbers and carrots were okay, not as crunchy as I would've liked. However, there was a nice sesame hit, which I personally love. On a side note, they had asked us during the meal if we wanted a refill of the Banchan - very attentive and generous. Now, with almost no room left on the table, they crammed the Jeyuk Bulgogi onto the edge. Their attempt at artistic plating may have seemed weird, but the pork was prepared quite well. There was a good ratio of meat to veggies where the pork was moist, spicy and sweet. The depth-of-flavour was apparent as well. We both received a bowl of rice to go with this and the rest of the meal.
Yes, this was only halfway! Next time, we swore to get a bigger table because the Kimchi Pancake was practically on top of other plates. Not sure why they used such a big plate... Despite being on the softer and wet side, the doughy pancake had a wealth of flavour thanks to the kimchi. I felt it was quite greasy, but what Korean pancake isn't? The scallion/veggie-to-pancake ratio was good as there was crunch in every bite. Moving alone, we had the Galbi Jjim, or beef short ribs. We found these to be quite sweet from the marinade and the accompanying glaze. The meat was definitely tender while slightly dry at the same time. With that being said, it was not hard to chew at all and each piece was meaty.
Even before we could even dig into half of our food, the Sweet & Sour Fried Fish arrived. Man, was this a large portion considering the amount of food we already had on the table! This was an appetizing dish with crispy battered fish dressed in a thick spicy sweet and sour glaze. There was a nice contrast between the crunchy thick batter and the flaky moist fish. I'm usually not a huge fan of this type of dish, but I liked this one. Now, I didn't really like the Squid Salad though. As you can clearly see in the picture, it was super hard to find the squid. At first, we didn't even know what the darn thing was. Far too many greens on the plate and little-to-no squid made this a fail. And even when we found the squid, the pieces were so small, we didn't get a sense of the dish. The only thing we could pick out was the nice spice.
You think we were done? No way, there was more! Next we had their version of Bossom. Instead of being wrapped in a leaf, the pork belly was atop a slice of pickled daikon and topped with what we believed was doenjang. First off, the pork belly was cooked just right as it was melt-in-our mouths tender, yet the fat and skin had a gelatinous texture. The combination of acidity, saltiness, spice and sweetness created a balance of flavours. After that, we had a classic being the Tang Sooyuk or Korean-style sweet & sour pork. Unfortunately, the pork was far too lean and hence was really dry when fried up. The exterior was crisp and not greasy, but the dense pork killed the dish. Too bad really since the sauce had a nice tartness to counteract the intense sweetness.
Mercifully, since we were full and the table had no room left, our last dish was the Doenjang Jjigae or fermented soy bean paste and vegetable stew. Bam! There was the intense flavour that hit us when we took a sip. The combination of the salty paste, dried anchovies, garlic and onions created a firestorm of flavour. That was a great end to the savoury part of the meal as we had one last thing being the Rice Punch. A light refreshing way to end a glutinous meal. All this was had for $20.00pp and to think the $15.00pp meal is practically the same. This, my friends is what you call a deal.
- More hits than misses with the food
- We got good service
- The lunch special set meals are a great value
- Even with a bigger table, there still isn't enough room for all the food
- Great value, but they could've staggered the food a bit, as we were overwhelmed