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Aug 16, 2006 10:15 PM

Winnipeg: Right There Korean Museum Restaurant

Had a great meal here the other night. Located at 472 Stradbrook Avenue in Winnipeg's Osbourne Village, Right There is an interesting room from the outside, with an entry area devoted to Korean artifacts, largely consisiting of various type of pottery. Rounding a corner, the main seating area is revealed to be a series of rustic wooden tables, benches and stools, attractively decorated with large table mats filled with Korean writing.

We are encouraged to order one of the dinner specials, and after some negotiation with the friendly hostess, we decide on one order of, I believe it was called, "Something Special", and order of Bibimbap, to share between the two of us. The "Something Special" is a sampler menu, with a few courses, and we have to decide on a main: beef, chicken, vegetable or octopus. The last choice seemed unusual to us, especially in Winnipeg, so naturally we went with it!

They start us with a series of appetizers, the many small salad side dishes typical of Korean cooking, including spicy tasty kimchee, a seaweed salad, and (I think) a beansprout salad. The cool of the bean sprouts nicely offsets the spice of the Kimchee and the strong flavour of the seaweed, and all is nicely washed down with complimentary cucumber ice water (ice water with sliced cucumbers in it).

The bibimbap arrives first in a heated stone bowl, very hot, and topped with a fried egg, typical of how this dish is served in North America. I prefer it with the a raw egg cracked on top of the hot rice and vegetables, but I know that this is one adaptation common to most Korean places in NA, or Canada at least.

We stir in the provided red pepper hot sauce, deep red, and richly flavoured, and mix everything up as it sizzles against the hot stone bowl. I have had this dish at the Sheraton Walker Hill in Seoul, and countless other places, and I am very impressed. It is an easy dish to make, but difficult to make elegantly, but Right There succeeds tremendously. It is marvellous: authentic and spicy, with a tocuh of sesame oil. Exemplary of the dish. Only the pre-fried egg disappoints.

The Something Special plate arrives as we are finishig the Bibimbap. A simple large white plate holds rice, Korean style norimaki (filled with pickled vegetables), a large green onion pancake, a small portion of inari sushi (rice stuffed into a fried tofu skin), and the octopus.

The pancake is wonderful, more of an omelette really, with green onions mixed in, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and very tasty.

The sushi is terrific, freshly made, the pickled vegtables crunchy, the inari a little sweet.

But it is the octopus that is the revelation! Quite spicy, and fried with bean sprouts, and perhaps some soy and sweet rice wine, some sesame, as well as the ubiquitous Korean red pepper paste. It is a marvellous balance of flavour and textures. The octopus is perfectly textured, with a nice bite, not overly chewy and feels great in the mouth with the cooked vegetables. We are so overwhelmed by how good it is, we order a whole plate of it off the a la carte menu! I am suprised that in Winnipeg, of all places, I have found what may be the best Korean dish I have tasted!

Tme meal includes dessert, ice cream, however we pass in favour of a promised "special tea", and our server brings out a deeply fragrant red ginger tea, slightly sweet, slightly spicy and soothing. It is a great end to a great meal.

In short this is a wonderful restaurant, with friendly service, and authentic, elegantly prepared food. Indeed I have found that it is sometimes a challenge to find sophisticated Korean food, and Winnipeg is lucky to have such a gem.

Very highly recommended!!!

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  1. I'm very happy to see someone mention "Right There" here. I've only been once, and the food was astounding, but it also ranked as one of the strangest dining experiences of my life because of the enthusiasm of the server/owner. I can't really describe the overwhelming oddity of the entire evening, but it is firmly imprinted in my memory as one of the most peculiar evenings I have ever spent anywhere for dinner. It was over three years ago, and at that time the restaurant also had "Gift Shop" in its name - so we were dining at the RighT There Korean Restaurant Museum Gift Shop. "Negotiation" of the menu with the hostess was definitely the proper term, and I am glad to hear that the word "Special" is still attached to so many items on the menu. I can't add much more to your glowing review, but wanted to write to thank you for bringing back the memory and taking me back to "Right There".

    1 Reply
    1. re: cosyigloo

      No problem! I also think that the owner has found the proper balance between enthusiasm and understanding of her customer base. She told us she has been in Canada about 6 years, so perhpas when you went she was too enthusiastic, but she feels she is also on a mission to show Korean culture in the best possible light.

      I highyl recommend you go again, as I can assure you the food here is top notch!

      I also recently reviewed A Taste of Laos, and since then a friend has told me that there has been a number of Laotion places open in Winnipeg. I hope the Winnipeg denizens of this board understand how lucky they are to have places like this!

    2. Can anyone explain the name, or the owner to me?

      1. Not sure what you mean. The owners are a very cultured Korean couple who have been in Canada for (I think) 7 years now. In addition to the restaurant they feel they have a alerger mission to present Korean culture to Winnipeg and Canadians, in a positive educational manner.

        As for the name, I think it means nothing beyond what it means: the restaurant is "Right There", and in front and centre, as in a destination you'd want to go and see.

        1. The owner goes by her Canadian name Jaime. She's very nice and was a teacher in Korea before. My favorite is the Korean BBQ it's called Kalbi for $10.99 it includes four side dishes (such as kimchi, potatoes, green seaweed bean sprouts), soup, rice and sometimes Korean tea when it's cold. LA Kalbi are side ribs marinated in sweet sauce and is very tender. If you think you need an appetizer you have to try the Korean noodles called Japchae. The drinks there are also very interesting the one I like the most is their grape drink. It's clear and with grapes inside. I also tried one of their special Korean tea and it's very good but strong and is a natural remedy.

          If you love Korean food and culture, I recommend you watch a very popular Korean series called Jewel in the Palace. It will make you understand Korean food and culture better and is one of the best series I've seen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: anoini

            I haven't been there before and should try one day, since I'm a big fan of Korean food and their Gochujang as well