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Song Cook's is an amazing, authentic Korean restaurant that is virtually hidden at the back of a strip mall off Steeles Avenue near Yonge Street.
The restaurant is separated into two sections. One side features regular chairs and tables but the other side of the restaurant has heated floors where one dines how Koreans traditinally dine - by sitting on mats on the floor.
Like all Korean restaurants, service here starts with some complimentary kimchi. Song Cook's kimchi is definitely different - instead of bite sized pieces of cabbage, entire heads of cabbage are plated along with pickled radish. It is also very tangy. We could tell it had been pickled well. Scissors are provided to allow us to cut them into smaller pieces
On to the orders. First up was the ChamPong, a spicy seafood soup noodle ($9). ChamPong and the JaJangMyun also come in a combo-deal: half portions of each dish but $8 for both. I usually get this deal when I'm here for a quick lunch or even a small dinner. The ChamPong has a deliciously spicy broth and the noodles are chewy and cooked perfectly.
JaJangMyun noodles with veggie, beef and black bean sauce. Again, the noodles are cooked perfectly. The sauce is quite thick but very flavourful as well.
Rice with Barley ($3.50). A majority of their dishes do not come with rice, so we ordered a heaping bowl of rice with barley on the side. This rice is their "healthy" alternative to rice.
Al Bap ($8) - vegetables, tobiko with rice in a hot stone bowl. Al Bap includes vegetables such as cucumbers, crab meat, kimchi, pickled radish and tobiko (fish roe). In concept, it is very similar to Bibimbap but tastes much lighter and less filling as it has no meat in it.
Seafood Tofu Stew. What good is a Korean restaurant visit without tofu stew? Best in the depths of winter when all you want is to fill your belly with hot soups and stews in an attempt to stay warm. This stew hit us with a double whammy of chili heat (don't worry its bark is worse than its bite!) and steamy broth.
Pork Belly ($8) - absolutely delicious fatty-ness. The pork belly is served with sesame oil sauce and ssamjang (soybean paste) to dip into. These thick strips of pork belly are also available in a table-top grilling option, where you can grill these delicious pieces of meat yourself. A word of caution: this option is double the price! ($15).
Jim Kalbi ($12) - Korean kalbi is one of the best out there - the sauce used to marinate the short ribs is amazing. In this case, the ribs are very good and the aforementioned scissors come in handy so we can cut them into smaller pieces
Grilled Mackerel ($7 for 2 pieces, $4 for 1). The mackerel tastes fresh and is grilled just right so that it doesn't have an overly fishy taste. It's beautifully flaky and I could easily have eaten one on my own.
The Steamed Ribs marinated in special sauce is incredibly tender and flavourful and the sauce is savoury AND sweet. They steam it long enough so that the meat just falls off the bones with little to no effort. It simply melts in your mouth. If you go to Song Cook's you MUST get this. This is the small size ($12) but there is also a larger one for $24 and it is worth every. Single. Penny.
The final bill? $87 (not including tips)
Writing by Christina Li.