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KOREAN BBQ - Bloor St. W.

Firstly I have to admit I'm new to Korean fare. Could somebody kindly give me an overview of what I will expect as well as any dining tips I should know. I've reviewed the boards and threads and I've heared about some meals containing lettuce, is this used as a wrap? Also I'm curious about the Korean BBQ that you cook at your own table...what is the process?

I used to live just south of Bloor and Christie and always wanted to try one of the restaurants, but never got the chance. There is this one place with what looks like clothes dryer vents coming down from the ceiling to the table?? Not sure what this is for.

Also looking for recommondations of a place to go for this Korean BBQ newbie...as well as any suggested dishes.

Thx much :)

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  1. New Generation Sushi on Bloor has a new branch, a Korean BBQ place on the northside of Bloor. I would characterize it as Korean BBQ Lite, not intimidating at all. They have an all you can eat option, plus other menu items. Don't know what othe ritems are, becayse I got hooked on teh all you can eat option. Worth a try.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion...it's called New Generation Sushi? Just making sure! Thx!

      1. I am Korean, just to get that out there to begin with.

        The Korean BBQ that people commonly know is likely one of the two:

        1) Galbi - marinated beef short ribs
        2) Bulgogi - marinated sirloin, usually thinner than galbi

        In Korea, normally people grill it themselves but sometimes a server grills it for you (i.e. comes by your table every few minutes to flip beef and cut it up). Of course, Korean people grill different types of meat on the grill, and depending on how it is marinated or what part of beef or pork it is, names vary.

        As for a good place to go on Bloor, I would suggest Korean Village, although I don't think it is not as good as Sariwon (on Yonge north of Steeles). Normally if I am introducing Korean food to someone, I take them to Sariwon. I was disappointed once when I took some people to Korean Village despite its fame, because they are not as "generous" in food as any other Korean restaurants are. On that note, I do go to Korean Village once in a while - their food is generally good.

        I've been to some Korean BBQ chain (it's probably called Korean BBQ) in Richmond Hill area, and it is not authentic by any means. I think it is AYCE and they had salmon and other things to be grilled, but certainly Koreans don't grill salmon on the grill for BBQ, traditionally. Difficult to explain but in any case, definitely not run by Korean people.

        If you are a newbie to Korean food, Galbi and Bulgogi are good intros, and also consider Bibimbap (which is a mix of rice, veggies, meat, egg, etc) - quite delish.

        Hope that helps.

        3 Replies
        1. re: exquisite

          here's a previous thread on the topic with restaurant recs: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476108

          as for dining tips for the newbie to korean cuisine: many of the condiments/side dishes ("banchan") will come before the main dish, these sides are not appetizers to be finished before the main meal (tho sometimes they are), but are there to accompany your meal. a korean meal will almost always come with rice and soup. the sides are variations of salads, pickles, dried fish, etc. and will be intense in flavour as they are meant to be eaten with the rice (relatively bland) and not alone. the "mains" can include things like galbi, bulgogi, grilled fish or whatever takes centre stage on the table... wraps are popular with grilled meats, and you'd normally take a lettuce say, add some hot sauce or bean paste and add the meat before wrapping and stuffing ever so ungracefully into your mouth - yes, you'll look funny but the taste with be worth it

          galbi, bulgogi are typical korean grilled meats but these days, pork belly is also popular and preferred by many non-koreans who do not like "sweet"ness in their meat. one thing, most of the kroean restos in toronto do not have an extensive dessert menu - if they serve it at all - korean meals are hearty and usually end with light fruit

          1. re: exquisite

            I think the place in Richmond Hill you are referring to was called "Walker Hill", and it's been out of business for quite a while. Too bad; I don't know how "authentic" it was, but we thought it was tasty, fun, and quite a good value. Lots of tasty side dishes, quite generous mains, and both a grill plate and a soup pot, so you could either grill or poach your food, and then have a tasty soup at the end.

            1. re: KevinB

              Walker Hill has indeed been out of business for a while, but I believe there's another Korean BBQ restaurant in its place, which is probably Sariwon. I think it's pretty authentic. I was there in February. Its selection of meats is quite tempting -- different galbi and samgyeopsal and many other table-top cooking combinations too. Their assortment of panchan isn't as varied as some other places, but it's still ok.

          2. The "dryer vents" are ventilation ducts that suck up the greasy smoke from the BBQ. Even so, if you do go and try it, do not wear nice clothes, and plan to change clothes right after. Some newer BBQ places have the vent right underneath the grill so you don't see it, but those are usually the ones run by non-Koreans (mostly Chinese).

            8 Replies
            1. re: Teep

              I've never been to Korea and I'm not Korean so perhaps my judgement is questionable, but for a beginner, I think Yummy BBQ on Bloor across from the Bloor Cinema is a great place to go. The food is quite tasty, they're very generous in portion/side dishes, and it's reasonably priced. They often rotate the side dishes so you never know exactly what you're going to get.You can eat yourself silly for less than $10 including tax. Whenever I've been there, there seem to be more Korean people than anyone else, which I take to be a good sign.

              1. re: ziggystardust

                Yummy BBQ is good, solid, reliable food. It's not going to win any awards, but it will give you good value for money. The side dishes don't come with as much variety as some of the other places, though.

                1. re: ascendance

                  Yes, Yummy BBQ rocks for good, cheap Korean!
                  Another place is Ka Chi on the northwest corner of Bloor and Palmerston.

                  For Korean BBQ, I think Sariwon is the best though Seoul House (Steeles west of Yonge) is a close second, but I think they've both recently changed owners (so i hear). Haven't been to either in a couple of months.

                  Tried Korean Village, I wouldn't bother with that one.

                  1. re: hotsauce28

                    I went to Ka Chi (Bloor/Palmertson) for the first time yestderday. I had the Korean seafood noodle soup and my significant other had the "Famous" pork bone soup. The place was packed. The food was filling and delicious and really cheap. Good service, too.

                    1. re: canadianbeaver

                      Ka Chi is one of my favourites in the area. Good food & value for the money, a bit packed sometimes, but a friendly atmosphere. Looking forward to summer and the patio.

                      1. re: canadianbeaver

                        I went recently, too, and discovered a new winter favourite: the spicy tofu stew. A rare vegetarian dish in a Korean restaurant, at a great price ($8, I think).

                        1. re: piccola

                          You might want to double check to see what type of stock they use for their sundubu jjigae. Could very well be a meat stock.

                          To get back on topic, sejong is the only one on bloor using charcoal for their bbq. Their banchan selection is kinda weak though.

                          Il bun ji has good quality meat, pricier than other places on the strip.

                          1. re: aser

                            I wondered about that, but two waiters swore it was vegetarian. It's possible we have different definitions of that, but I don't know how else to ask.