Kimchi Korea House
Kimchi Korea House, on the south side of Dundas near Bay, is situated in a prime spot to take advantage of this bustling downtown neighbourhood. At only a couple weeks old, the new restaurant is already garnering plenty of foot traffic from the nearby Ryerson campus.
The formerly vacant and dilapidated storefront has been given an extreme makeover and now sports casual, modern decor that appropriately draws from Asian influences. Designed by Koryo Interior, the new look incorporates dark woods, rice paper screens, and bright red, vinyl banquettes.
This is a restaurant from a veteran of the service industry, and here, a convivial atmosphere takes precedence over trendy fare. Owner Michelle Lee tells me about her lifetime of experience working in hospitality and service for the Western Prince Hotel and Niagara Fall's Captain Murphy's Restaurant, and how she is proud to now have the opportunity to show off the Korean comfort foods that are close to her heart.
Prices are not especially cheap, but the portion sizes are generous. The Sweet & Spicy Chicken ($15.95) delivers exactly what it promises via chillies and pineapple slices, and is served with sides of traditional Korean garnishes like kimchi, bean sprouts, pickled radish, cucumber and eggplant.
The Hot Stonepot Bibimbap ($10.95) arrives sizzling in heavy stoneware. The pan-fried egg sits on top of colourful veggies, slow-cooked beef, and soft fluffy rice that is seared to the bottom of the dish--a positive in my mind.
The Kalbi Ribs Soup ($10.95) is another hearty dish featuring slow-cooked beef ribs and tender cubes of carrot and radish in a rich, beefy broth.
Tonight, I'm grateful for the unlimited green tea, but on the drinks menu, options include beers and wines, as well as Sake, plum wine and soju (a distilled, vodka-like beverage with 35% alcohol that is native to Korea).
Currently, the restaurant is open from 11:30am until late, but there are plans to stay open until 4:30 am on the weekends. Lee insists that "Korean food is great hangover food," and is confident that she's found a prime location in which to dish it out.
Photos by Morris Lum