HoSu Bistro: Broaden Your Palate
I admit that sometimes I order menu dishes just because I find the names intriguing. "Chicken Bibim Bop" sounds more like a (possibly painful) dance move to me, but it's actually a traditional Korean dish: assorted veggies & chicken with an egg on a bed of rice, served in a stone bowl.
I've eaten at both the downtown (254 Queen St. W.) and North York (2352 Yonge St.) HoSu locations many times. Up to now, I've usually gone for the sushi or the chirashi don ($9.95):
Owner Susan Kim says that many first-time visitors tend to gravitate toward the Japanese options, especially sushi and bento box combos. She says that on repeat visits, people often start getting more adventurous. HoSu's Korean specialty, kam pong gi ($7.95 small, $12.95 large), is now a favourite among customers.
Wanting to be more adventurous, I ask Susan for ideas. She suggests the galbi appetizer: pieces of marinated short beef ribs ($4.95) and the spicy chicken soup ($8.95). Like her staff, Susan is friendly and welcoming, eager to introduce different types of Asian cuisine to those yearning to broaden their palates.
All serving staff at HoSu are fluent in English. Susan makes this a requirement so if customers have any questions about the menu, they can get explanations. Many people find ethnic restaurants intimidating; one of Susan's goals is to make HoSu a place where diners feel comfortable trying new dishes. "When we first opened, very few people knew what kimchi was," she says. "Now people request it specifically."
My galbi appetizer is tender and delicious, and the chicken soup is unlike any other I've had before. The spicy broth with chicken, egg and long green onions is hot and filling: Korean comfort food. You don't even have to leave your own home to sample HoSu's extensive menu since they offer take-out and delivery services (check out their menus on their Web site). When I ordered the chicken soup for delivery, it came in a sturdy plastic bowl:
Yum. This would also be a great choice for anyone feeling a bit under the weather; I'll have to remember this next time I'm sick at home. Hm...or even if I'm not.
Now my eye strays to other unfamiliar dishes on the menu and find they don't sound quite as intimidating. Hwae dop bop? I'll have that next time, or perhaps galbi jim. Not exactly sure what they are, but I can't wait to find out.
Pictured above: 2352 Yonge St. location (Yonge & Eglinton), 416-322-6860. Address at the top of this listing refers to the Queen St. location.
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-11pm, Sun 11:30am-10pm