Sherman's Food Adventures: Kook Korean BBQ

Kook Korean BBQ

If you are familiar with the T&T complex on 1st and Renfrew, you will know parking there sucks and even a fist fight might break out over a parking spot.  Beyond that, there are many places to shop and eat (which would explain much of the parking chaos).  Just above T&T on the South side, there has been a Korean restaurant wanting to open up for over a year.  It seemed to be stuck in restaurant opening purgatory and I wasn't holding much hope it would ever come to fruition.  Well it finally has arrived in the form of Kook Korean BBQ.  We recently checked the place out after Sunday morning hockey where I smartly parked on the street.

One of the things that sets Kook apart from all of the other various Korean BBQ joints is their selection of Banchan.  There was such a variety, it completely encircled the grill (however, the sliced garlic and pepper don't count).  Starting with the one to the right of the pepper going counter clockwise, we had the spicy squid, stewed potatoes, bean sprouts, bean curd skin, kimchi radish, broccoli, pickled garlic, seaweed, spicy radish salad, pickled daikon, turnip, garlic scapes and mung bean jelly.  As you can see, the portions were quite small, but then again, one could ask for more.  Nothing out of the ordinary other than the mung bean jelly not be seasoned with anything.  For our BBQ meat choices, we had the Spicy Pork and Chicken on one plate.  Chicken was pretty typical being the leg meat, so it was tender and juicy.  We really enjoyed the spicy pork since it was marinated enough so that there was ample impact and it charred up well.  The meat was tender and cut thick enough that it didn't fall apart on the grill.

We also got the Beef Brisket that was sliced ultra thin which was good and bad at the same time.  Of course the positives of thinly sliced beef is that it will be more tender, easier to eat and quicker to cook.  The big negative here is that it stuck to the grill where more than 30% was lost.  Too bad really because the buttery beef was good when we could get some off the grill.  On that note, they were helping us grill the meat, so the service was pretty attentive in our minds.  To get a taste of the menu, we also got the Japchae that was served on a long plate.  This was actually a decent portion here and the amount of ingredients was substantial (including thin slices of tender beef).  They were able to keep the noodles dry, non-greasy and chewy without it being too clumpy.  Flavours were mildly sweet with a balancing amount of saltiness. 

Just because we felt like getting the greatest hits, we also ordered the Dolset Bibimbap and Gamjatang.  Sizzling and hot enough to create a modest rice crust, the bibimbap had a healthy topping of ingredients (as evidenced in the picture).  Things were prepared properly and textures were subsequently right as well.  As for the gamjatang, the broth had a good kick with the taste of hot pepper complimented by black pepper and perilla.   The three large pork bones sported tender meat that soaked up all of the flavours.  Overall, we were quite satisfied with our meal at Kook.  Prices are fair given the food quality, portion size and location.  I do mention location because there isn't anything nearby like Kook, so it does fill a need.  Personally, I would go back.

The Good:
- Above-average eats
- Lots of Banchan
- Decent service

The Bad:
- Not the best of parking lots (park on the street)
- Some items are pricey, but not out-of-line with similar restaurants


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