delicious korean in providence
i'm afraid to let the word out, but there's a really great korean place on benefit street, inside a convenience store. the sign says solomon market, but at night, the place turns into a restaurant. service isn't perfect, but the food is great. i've had the squid with rice, which is spicy and full of tender squid and mussels. my friend has had both the stone pot bi bim bap and an item on the menu that includes rice cake, chicken, sweet potatoes, and carrots (sadly, i can't recall the name). all have been great, and the portions are good-sized.
i was there one monday night and it was packed; the following monday it was quiet...
Yup, it really is excellent, and is the absolute, perfect definition of a low-key, stealthy, chowhound find.
That said, if you're going to go, make sure you can withstand the blast of a fully authentic, spicy Korean dinner. This was one of only two Korean restaurants I've been to outside of NYC where I needed copious water to get through the evening. I can often withstand the spiciest of meals, but this one was a challenge.
My sweet boyfriend and I went today for lunch. We live
within quick walking distance and had driven by
countless times but had never eaten there. He had never even
heard of it.
I had. He had a plane to catch and wanted to fly to
South America with a full stomach. I made the
suggestion, and we abandoned the usual Jake's (which is
delicious in an entirely different way) and headed over to
Benefit Street. (We drove. I tried to tell him how close
it was and how easy a walk it would be. Although he is
accustomed to walking up Wickenden Street all the
time, somehow he couldn't wrap his mind around walking
down Benefit. When we arrived he asked me why we didn't
walk...what can you say!)
Solomon's Market sits on the corner and from the
outside, driving by, it looks rather unassuming. One would
not necessarily know it was a restaurant. There are no
clues until you get close enough to see the pictures
of the Korean dishes in the windows. Inside, it is a
small cozy space with curtains on the windows,
(plastic?) flowers scattered about in pots, and perhaps 10
glass topped tables. There were 2 very cordial Korean
ladies there - from what I could tell one took the orders
and waited the tables while the other one cooked.
There was one table of 3 finishing up when we arrived
at around 2 pm, and as we were readying to leave one
other person sat down to eat. Otherwise we had the
place to ourselves.
The menu has pictures of everything which we found helpful.
Now onto the food! To start we ordered the fried
dumplings. Eight small dumplings arrived - 4 shrimp and 4
meat - along with a soy/sesame oil dipping sauce. Kim
chi and a bean sprout salad were brought out too. The
dumplings were delicate and sublime - crispy yet chewy.
When you bit into them juice squirted out and the
filling had subtle notes of ginger, garlic, and scallion.
Apparently I kept moaning as I was eating them which
didn't go unnoticed by my man. They were that good -
easily the best I have had. The dough was similar to
chinese dumpling dough but was much thinner giving the
outside a nice crispiness to it which I found to be
My boyfriend ordered the Dak gal bi, which is a
sweet/spicy stir fried chicken dish. At 12.95, it is also
the most expensive thing on the menu. What arrived was a
humongous portion of chicken, rice cake (pieces of
chewy dense formed rice noodly substance), carrot and
cabbage in a brown sauce that tasted sweet and somewhat
spicy. I tasted a hint of peanut. It was not that
spicy, but excellent. The menu description said it has
sweet potatoes in it but I didn't detect any.
I ordered the Jjem bbong, spicy noodle soup with
seafood. It was a huge bowl of long egg noodles with baby
shrimp, mussels, clam pieces, squid, cabbage, carrot
slivers and long red hot peppers in a reddish spicy
broth. No shells. It came with a ladle and 2 bowls. The
portion was enormous and I ended up taking half home!
Although it was spicy, I welcome more heat and next time
I will try to make this clear.
Wonderful place, I will be back (this weekend for
sure, as I am on my own for a few days!)
My boyfriend was very impressed and said that next
time he would try something different. I agreed, but I
think I'll insist on some more of those orgasmic
Just my 2 cents. I am torn. I want to spread the word,
but then again I don't want this place to get too well
known. I suspect the ladies running the joint want to
keep it small too. No flashy signage, no advertising.
I guess it doesn't really speak to the Applebee's
crown though. It's definitely not mainstream.