KoSam is where you'll find a menu of Korean dishes such as bibimbap, fried chicken, and their signature Samgyetang coming with a whole chicken stuffed with ginseng in a simmering broth.
Previously named Koryo, KoSam existed in South Korea for more than 40 years before joining the slew of places to eat and drink along the stretch of Yonge Street between Sheppard and Steeles known to Toronto as Koreatown North.
The flavours offered at this restaurant with an out-front patio complete with a wooden canopy adorned with lights will transport you to Seoul without ever having to leave the city.
Every meal begins with a variety of banchan or small side dishes served before the main course. The bowls of glass noodles, spicy cucumber salad, kongjang or soy-braised soybeans, and the staple at every Korean table: kimchi, are fully replenishable so enjoy until heart's content.
One of the dishes that come highly recommended is Samgyetang, Korea's version of chicken noodle soup, though you'd be hard-pressed to find this deep of flavours in a bowl of chicken noodle.
A whole Cornish hen with sticky rice and ginseng stuffing cooks in a cast-iron bowl under a direct flame until the simple broth seasoned with salt and pepper boils up over the chicken, cooking it throughout.
The soup ($21.99) feels like the ultimate comfort food and would be just the thing to slurp up on a cold day. It comes with a big ladle for scooping, as well as noodles on the side, which we're told are one of the keys to a long life in Korean culture. Go ahead and pile them into your bowl.
You can also find bibimbap on the menu. With endless possible variations to this classic Korean dish that combines meat, veggies and rice, there are six kinds to choose from here.
We go with the original vegetarian bibimbap ($14.99) but you can also add on ground beef for the same price. Whichever one you choose, season it to your liking with the help of either gochujang (spicy red chili paste) or ganjang (soy lemon).
Mix it in yourself after adding your desired amount of sauce and prepare for a host of flavours from the saucy contents of spinach, pickled onions, mushrooms, carrots, seasoned bean sprouts, and egg.
When it comes to appetizers, the pa jeon ($13.99) is one with seafood and scallions as its prominent ingredients. The Korean-style pancake is pan-fried to a crispy consistency with shrimp, oyster and squid, and plenty of green onions throughout.
Fried chicken is another fan favourite. A platter of crispy boneless chicken thighs ($16.99) comes in a deep-fried batter with spicy mayo and pickled onions on the side for a bit of added acidity.
The stir-fried iron plates for sharing provide even more options like classic bulgogi and jae yook ($20.99). The latter is served on a hot plate with sliced pork and an assortment of veggies in a sweet and spicy marinade of kimchi and gochujang.
Your meal will go nicely with a bottle of Kloud, a premium Korean beer done in the German Pilsner style with yeast from Germany and hops from Europe.