Sherman's Food Adventures: Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ

Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ

When it was time to celebrate my son's birthday, his choice of cuisine was something very familiar - Korean BBQ.  Hey that is a great choice, but it can be a pretty expensive proposition these days.  But anything for him right?  So we decided to hit up an ol' favourite in Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ located in the H-Mart strip mall along North Road.  We haven't been back in awhile and this was a great opportunity to do so.  We made a reso (very much a good idea) for opening and that was a good move as the place was packed shortly after.

As usual, we started with a selection of Banchan that included potato salad, kimchi, pickled daikon and salad.  There was also the usual garlic and jalapeno for wrapping the meats in romaine.  We were also served a trio of sauces including sweet soy, sesame oil salt and spicy.  Kimchi was pretty good with spiciness.  The mashed potato salad was not as heavy as it looked.  We got a refill of that.

We went for the Monday Night Special for $100.00.  It included beef rib finger, chuck flap tail, prime boneless short rib and marinated pork collar.  That was a pretty good deal as the amount of meat would be good enough for 4 people.  The quality of the meat was quite good with the rib finger having enough fat for both flavour and butteriness while having a chewy tenderness (if that makes sense).  The chuck flap tail was a bit more meaty in texture, but it was very beefy.  Of course the short rib was the star of the show with its buttery texture with a meaty bite.  It was so flavourful due to the fat.  Pork collar was tender with its classic rebound texture.

Of course this wasn't enough food for 6 of us, so we went ahead and also got the Duck Set that consisted of roasted duck, striploin, garlic beef, rib finger, steamed egg with cheese and bean paste soup.  As much the duck is one of their signature items, I'm not convinced that I actually like it.  When placed on the BBQ, they inevitably overcook and the skin doesn't render enough without burning the whole thing.  Hence, you are left with a dry and chewy piece of duck.  However, the striploin was good though.  It was sufficiently tender and meaty.  

We added a side of Soy Sauce Marinated Blue Crab just because nothing we ordered included it.  Oh and also, I wanted to try their version of the dish.  I ended up selecting the one that had roe.  This was pretty good with well-marinated crabs, that were also of a good size.  The sweet roe and crab butter was very appealing with a sweet brininess.  The body meat was soft and sweet with enough soy marinade to balance.

Included in the duck set was a Tofu Soup and Steamed Cheese Egg.  The soup was bubbling hot and quite tasty.  There was no shortage of spice either.  Tender cubes of tofu and veggies loaded up this soup.  As for the egg, it was plenty cheesy with melted cheese on top.  However, the egg itself was a bit stiff and not as fluffy as we would've liked.  Also, there was quite a bit of residual water.

Also included was an order of Japchae that was for all intents and purposes, a good version.  It was not clumpy yet not greasy while the veggies were still vibrant despite being cooked through.  It wasn't overly sweet like some versions we've had, but it was also a touch lacking in seasoning.  Overall, the meal at Toedam was solid despite being a bit pricey.  Mind you, all Korean BBQs are not cheap due to the cost of the meat.  It really helped to have that Monday night special.  Service was friendly, if not hurried.  Not a place to linger.

The Good:
- Good meat quality
- Solid eats
- Efficient service, if not hurried

The Bad:
- With any Korean BBQ, it will cost you
- Duck isn't as good as I thought it would be


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