Sherman's Food Adventures: Hanok


When I get the itch for Korean eats, I merely make the short jaunt over to North Road.  There you will find an array of restaurants that I cannot pronounce nor remember one from another.  Therefore, with a name like Hanok, it is almost a relief because it is easy to remember and it doesn't require me to go round and round in the parking lot trying to find it.  Yes, it is in plain sight, easy to spot and according to some, serves up decent eats that does not necessarily require a small loan.

However, that never stops me from ordering too much and running up the bill.  It is further exacerbated when my stomach does the thinking rather than my brain.  But before we got to the stuff we ordered, we were served the usual Banchan which included seaweed, sprouts, daikon, kimchi and a green salad.  Nothing particularly amiss here, but I would've liked to see some stewed potatoes.  Onto our first dish, we shared the good sized portion of the Bossam served with pickled daikon and spicy radish.  There was a considerable amount of sharpness and spice from the garlic which helped elevate the mildly seasoned pork belly.  I found the belly to be more meaty than fatty while the daikon and radish added tang and sweet spiciness.

Onto 2 soups, we dug into the Beef Rib first.  It was mild-flavoured as expected (since it was served with salt on the side), yet still had a meaty essence as well as a decent amount of collagen which afforded a certain silkiness.  There was no shortage of tender slices of beef that were fatty and super tender.  Our next soup was the traditional Ginseng Chicken that featured 2 large legs that was more prominent than the broth.  This was a pretty mild soup (but yes, we put salt into it and it tasted pretty good), with only minor hints of ginseng.  The chicken was actually quite succulent.

I insisted on getting Japchae, even though it is generally a defaultish dish compared to other things on the menu.  Turns out she was right because this version was pretty standard.  With that being said, there was a decent amount of thinly sliced tender beef and veggies.  The noodles were nicely chewy and not overly wet nor sweet.  The dish was easy on the grease, but also easy on the seasoning too.  On the other hand, the Stir-Fried Tripe was bursting with impactful flavours including an in-your-face gaminess.  I was okay with that since there was an equal amount of sweetness and spiciness.  As for the texture, the tripe was on point being chewy with a rebound, yet tender all-the-way.

Our last dish was the Grilled Beef Rib with bean paste, carrots, romaine lettuce and peppers.  I would've liked to see some raw garlic slices, but then again, there was enough with the bossam.  The rib could've used more char despite the caramelized sweetness.  The meat was succulent and tender with a meatiness.  The meat was marinated well enough that I could taste it through the lettuce, carrot and peppers.  Overall, I thought the food at Hanok was okay while being priced much like all the other Korean restaurants nearby.  Of note, we found the service to be quite attentive and courteous, despite what others have said.

The Good:
- Decent eats
- Surprisingly attentive service

The Bad:
- A bit pricey, but no unlike the other restaurants nearby
- A little on the sweeter side


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