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Authentic Korean BBQ?

I was reading General topics just now and people were describing a kind of Korean BBQ that I have never seen before. BBQ meats being served with lettuce, garlic, chile/bean paste, like they do in Korea. Is there anywhere in Toronto that serves BBQ like this?

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  1. There have been discussions about this on other threads....you can check them out if you wish....(but more related to all-you-can-eat)....

    These 2 places are good. Authentic Korean places. Not all-you-can-eat.

    Sariwon Korean Restaurant
    7388 Yonge Street
    Thornhill Ontario L4J 1V8
    (905) 881-5103

    Seoul Kwan Korean Restaurant (also one on Orfus Road - near Yorkdale Mall)
    180 Steeles Ave. West
    Thornhill ONT M2M 3Y6
    (905) 709-1593

    1 Reply
    1. re: ghetto_scarlem

      GS, I've looked at your pasts posts and couldn't find any dish recommendations from these restos. Any suggestions on what to order, esp beef or chicken?

    2. I may be committing a travesty here, but the Korean Grill House restaurants (of which there are several on Yonge Street and Queen Street in Toronto), also do the "cook it yourself" all-you-can -eat meat with lettuce, garlic and condiments. Not that this would be precisely "authentic" but it's in Toronto. Possibly Sweetie could try one cheaply and locally before travelling to Thornhill? I think that the AYCE dinner at the Korean Grill House nearest me (Yonge between Bloor and Charles) is about $12.99 per person, including the more exotic meats. The veggie plate (lettuce, green pepper, garlic, etc.) is an additional $7.99, but can easily be shared. This isn't exactly fine dining, but I have enjoyed it and no one I've gone with has ever emerged hungry...

      15 Replies
      1. re: morrigan

        I agree that a closer and cheaper option for more authentic korean is a good idea, but Korean Grill House on Queen St was not even comparable to good Korean BBQ. The marinade wasn't very good, nor the quality of meat.
        The Korean restaurant ghetto recommends on Orfus is MUCH better and Yorkdale is not that far from the subway. That restaurant has the added bonus of charcoal, oppose to gas.

        1. re: chocabot

          Okay, okay....

          As a thought, aren't there a whole number of Korean restaurants around Bloor and Bathurst over to Ossington? Never tried any...

        2. re: morrigan

          You are clearly committing a SERIOUS travesty. Please do not go to any of these so-called Korean grill places. I think they border on defamation, by calling it Korean.

          They are not "authentic" as the original post asked for.

          1. re: ghetto_scarlem

            Mea maxima culpa...

            Clearly I have never been to the real thing, or I would know better;). I live downtown - is there one I can get to without a car so I can educate myself?

            1. re: morrigan

              Apology accepted. I just want people to experience real Korean food.

              As the other people on this thread have mentioned, Seoul House on Dufferin is authentic (across the street from Yorkdale, at Orfus Road). TTC subway station at Yorkdale.

              The other Seoul House location is just across the street from Centre Point mall (Yonge & Steeles) - you will have to take the Steeles West bus from Finch subway station.

              Sariwon is very good as well, but you might have to take Richmond Hill transit? As it is like a 15 min walk from Yonge & Steeles?

              I know there are some BBQ places at Bloor & Christie, but I don't tend to eat BBQ when I am in that area. I just get the $6-7 meals at the "humble" places.

              1. re: ghetto_scarlem

                So no then. There are no TTC accessible authentic Korean restos.

                1. re: Googs

                  I don't understand. Seoul House on Dufferin is right across the street from Yorkdale, which as a TTC subway station. If you are not willing to walk a few minutes to cross the street from a subway stop to eat a meal, then I guess there won't be too many places to eat. You will be limited to authentic chips and chocolate bars at the Gateway newspaper stands inside the subway station.

                  1. re: ghetto_scarlem

                    The Yorkdale subway stop is on Yorkdale Rd, not Dufferin. That walk of roughly 1.5 km would not be a few minutes. I take it you own a car. Makes winter soooo much easier. I'm willing to do much in the name of quality and authenticity. Freezing my toches off isn't one of them. Authentic potato chips it is.

                  2. re: Googs

                    oh, I'd say that most places in T.O. are accessible by TTC - subway, bus, LRT - I'm a fan of the better way and that includes buses for me ;-) ....but if you're looking to avoid buses and go to places that are close to subway stations, there are many places along bloor, east of chrstie subway station - I'd say try Han il Kwan (I've mentioned this place in previous posts), Korea House, for the bbq & lettuce wraps. around sheppard subway, there are a couple of places on Spring Garden (just 2 bl north of sheppard), next to the Ichiban fish house that serve the bbq & lettuce wraps. personally I'd take the northbound bus from dufferin station to go to the Seoul House on Dufferin/Orfus rather than take the winding walk through Yorkdale but then again, that depends on where I am and how desperately i need to satisfy a bbq craving...;-)

                    there's also a pretty good bbq & lettuce wrap place on yonge, just steps north of cummer called To Dam Gol (i think) but that might require taking Richmond HIll or Vaughan transit....

                    1. re: berbere

                      Thank you so much berbere! Can I trouble you for a street address on Han-il Kwan? I tried looking it up myself, but only come up with a Steeles address.

                      1. re: Googs

                        Hi Googs, first of all, I must apologize - when I recommended Han Il Kwan, I was really thinking of Han Kuk Kwan, the name by which others know it is Korean Village and it's at 628 Bloor St. W. - here's a link, scroll down and you'll see a photo of the resto: http://toronto.ibegin.com/restaurants...
                        ...I've always known it by its korean name Han Kuk Kwan, but Han Kuk and Han Il are similar words referring to "korea" or things korean, hence my err in translation

                        I have also recommended on chowhound a resto called Il Bun Ji which is a Japanese/Korean resto that I think does very good Korean food - i dont think they have bbq at your table but they bring stuff already bbq'd: one of my fave there is the traditional style kalbi (as opposed to the perfectly 3/4-cm sliced LA-styled kalbi. tradl style is a beef shortrib with the meat unfurled by cutting the meat cross wise twice-thrice so the bone ends up at one end). their sides are good and portions are huge...here is a link to a photo/map of Il Bun Ji:
                        http://toronto.ibegin.com/restaurants...

                        1. re: berbere

                          Wow that's great info! Thank you so much berbere. I found a bit more info at TorontoPlus including a lovely photo of the interior. Now I can't wait to try Han Kuk Kwan first and Il Bun Ji next.
                          http://www.torontoplus.ca/home/korean...

                          1. re: Googs

                            I hope you enjoy Han Guk Kwan. I was there last night for a meeting. Their food is pretty good, and I recommend it to my non-Korean friends (I don't think they necessarily want to check out the hole-in-the-wall places on Bloor).

                            Not too sure if they do the BBQ lettuce wrap things there, but they might.

                            1. re: ghetto_scarlem

                              If the hole-in-the-wall on Bloor has great food colour me there. A pass from DineSafe is my only other prerequisite for anywhere I eat. I even look-up the 4 star places since you never really know. Thanks Ghetto.

                              1. re: Googs

                                Check this thread for some of my favourites at Bloor & Christie.

                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434649

                                2 other threads talking about Korean restaurants:

                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/309975

                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391067

          2. You can ask for the lettuce at most Korean restaurants I've been to. Not sure why it's not offered maybe it just used to sit there uneaten with people not knowing what to do with it.
            I believe it's "saeng chu" if my addled memory serves me well.

            It's Seoul House on Orfus road (the address actually lists it on Dufferin). Like the other poster said real charcoal barbeque at the table. Just ask for the lettuce a dwen jang and garlic.

            Hope that helps.

            7 Replies
            1. re: GGS

              The service at Seoul House on Orfus/Dufferin Road is abysmal (I am being generous).

              1. re: zoohort2

                I've been to Seoul House once, in April 2007, and enjoyed the meal very much. Our party of 8 had several banchan for starters which were all very interesting, plus fried and steamed mandoo and chap chae. On the grill, we had a few orders of the beef ribs and spicy pork. We also tried their seafood pancake. The tables have a little button you can press to summon a waitress, sort of like the button on airplanes that calls the stewardess.

                As for service, I recall it being so-so, but the place was very busy. Our waitress even offered to grill the beef bones in the kitchen for us so we could gnaw on them.

                A set of annotated photos of our dinner is here:
                http://flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/s...

                -----
                Seoul House
                3220 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON , CA

                1. re: gnuf

                  Great photos, thanks for sharing. My mouth is watering!

                  1. re: gnuf

                    Yes-I used to work in that area it was a pretty safe bet you'd get decent food.

                    It's also open on Sundays.

                    1. re: gnuf

                      I've been to the Seoul House on Steeles (I think it's the same people who operate it) and I was quite impressed with it. Came with all the condiments and there was a server who helped us grill the meats and so forth. Also offered to grill the bones for us, although in all honesty I think the tendony parts of the rib can only really be enjoyed if it's cooked low and slowly as opposed to a quick sear.

                      1. re: gnuf

                        just read your annotations -- that's great that they grilled the leftover bones for you guys to chew on: just the kind of thing my mom or grandma would do! and so typical of koreans....waste not.....great pics too!

                        1. re: gnuf

                          seoul house & sariwon are the two that use charcoal in the city.

                          Lots of other places on this list are great (Il Bun Ji, Sariwon, Oh Geul Bol Geul, etc). We are truly lucky to have such a deluge of Korean restaurants, immigration rocks.

                          The lettuce dish you're referring to is either galbi or samgyeopsal. I think it works better w/ the pork since the lettuce helps cut the fattyness.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samgyeopsal

                    2. If you order table-cooking at Nakwon (SW corner of Finch and Yonge), they serve it like that :)

                      1. Thank you for all the suggestions! I cannot wait to try the "real" thing.

                        1. Not worrying about price...It doesn't really get any better then Sariwon.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: s0memale

                            I second Sariwon. I was there once with a party of 10, including one Korean Friend. Until then my experience with Korean BBQ was the AYCE kind. Changed my perspective in Korean Food in General :-D

                          2. Miga in Mississauga, borderline oakville is pretty authentic.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: c_snapper

                              I was at Miga a few weeks ago and the clientele was almost exclusively Asian. I did see people eating with lettuce and the other stuff the OP mentioned. I didn't get any.. will def. ask for it next visit!

                              And I do intend to go back; the meats were much more flavourful than any of those Korean Grill House type of places I've been to. And they actually changed the grill surface, which always gets nasty with charred buildup before you've cooked most of your meat.

                              1. re: NovoCuisine

                                yeah. everytime i go, the crowd is predominately koreans..so i figured it's good

                                you know it's good food because they use lard to grease the grill and that they do the grill change.....highly recommend it if you're willing to travel this way.

                                -----
                                Miga Korean & Japanese Bbq Restaurant
                                2382 Dundas St W, Mississauga, ON L5K1R7, CA

                            2. Last night, my partner and I ended up at Sejong on Bloor and had Korean BBQ served the way you describe. Although I wouldn't say it's the best Korean BBQ I've had, it's a good option for those who live downtown and don't have access to a car (I find they use too much MSG in their marinades and service is painfully slow and not very attentive). Just a warning that their ventilation system didn't seem to be working well last night so my partner and I came out smelling like we just escaped a house fire (they use a charcoal/gas combo for the grill).

                              1. When a sudden craving for Korean BBQ struck last week a group of us wandered the "strip" and decided to try a place (new to us) on Christie, just north of the Baskin Robbins. It seemed unusually busy; as it turned out Wed. is ayce BBQ. When you walk in there's a large bar down one side, long tables down the middle and screened compartments down the other side. Music very loud and annoying, was eventually turned down. We all went with the AYCE so they brought two burners for the 6 of us (2 kids incl.) I don't have much to compare it to but thought there was probably the typical meat selection...chicken, beef ribs, bacon (that was different for me) squid, octopus and some other pork. They provided raw cloves of garlic and the bean paste you mentioned. Two plates of romaine lettuce leaves were provided with meal, additional plates were $2. each. Rice (steamed or red) was extra. The usual kimchee (although on the mild side) etc. and a salad of spring onions and lettuce with a dressing which I had never tried before but loved. Staff was helpful although we did experience some technical difficulties...not sure whether it was us or the burners but that was quickly overcome. They have an interesting and pretty extensive menu other than the bbq. Including a combination for $20 which incl. 5 beers or a bottle of rice wine? and assortment of kimchee and snacks (sorry I don't know the correct name for these), Apparently (although I don't speak Korean) the 5 occupants of the screened room directly next to where my son and I were seated were enjoying the combo. Rather loudly, When one elderly man go up from the table he fell out of the compartment and into the floor. Another man got up too and down he went. They both lay there despite the waitress and othe patrons trying to get them up. Eventually one of the staff came got them to their feet (they are in the aisle trying to lean against our table), did up their coats and got them out the door. While the food was good, the "floor show" left a bad taste in our mouths and I doubt we'll go back.

                                I have also tried the restaurant on the east side of Yonge Street just north of Cummer Ave. To Dam Gol? for the table grilled bulgogi etc. several times and really liked it. Not too sweet or overly marinated. Prices were for two people but they recommended for two ladies and a teenage girl that the serving for two plus a side order of dumplings would be plenty and it was. Not fancy, but a clean and "homey" atmosphere and bigger than it looks from the outside. If you go try their homemade dumplings. However, I don't remember it having lettuce leaves but I found the accompanying dishes to be plentiful and flavourful. Even the soup was delicious and everything came in rather rustic looking bowls. The staff was very welcoming and friendly.