MSP: Korea Restaurant
Dong Yang has some competition.
Korea Restaurant is on Oak Street between Washington and University. Across the street from the gigantic Alumni Center and next to the fire station. They have parking spaces and from the look of the lunch crowd today (all students on foot), parking should be no problem. Ignore the "permit only" signs.
Back to that lunch crowd, 5 of the 7 tables were occupied by people that looked like they were Korean exchange students studying at the U.
They have rice cakes (Duk?). The Beef Bulgogi has a fantastic texture. The Pork Bulgogi has a fantastic flavor. The little pickles accompanying the lunch specials were skimpy (we got kimchi in one dish and one dish with two less spicy pickles). They were good, just Dong Yang gives us 5 or 7, or if they're angry, maybe 6.
The rice cake is soupy with dumplings and egg and some other good stuff. And plentiful.
Lunch specials are $6.99. It looks like they have a large number of seafood items, but we didn't go for those today. They do not have the Korean-style ribs served dry that I love at Dong Yang. They serve their beef ribs in soup.
The charming number system that goes "ding" when your order is up is worth the trip by itself.
And our post on Dong Yang
Dong Yang Oriental Foods
735 45th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55421
Category: Korean, Food Market
Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
Service: N/A (self-service)
Recommendation: Very Good. Dong Yang is a Korean/Asian grocery store with a small deli style restaurant tucked in the back serving Korean food. The restaurant is bare bones but the food is authentic, freshly made, and delicious.
Located close to the northern edge of Central Avenue, Dong Yang is not necessarily convenient but is worth a stop. The grocery store stocks primarily Korean food with a few items from other parts of Asia (try the Red Bean Ice cream sandwich). But the main attraction for us was the little deli tucked in the back that serves Korean food. It reminded our Korean friend of mom’s cooking, enough to want to make him call mom after the meal. The counter takes orders only until 7:30pm Mon-Sat and until 5:30pm on Sundays. The experience is pretty bare bones…plastic everything and we had to eat in small Styrofoam take out containers because they didn’t have any plates. Thankfully, the food made up for what the rest of the experience lacked. The menu has a large selection of traditional Korean dishes...ranging from Soups to Meats to Fish. We enjoyed Dong Yang as much as Hoban in Eagan.
Once we placed the order, the food started coming out relatively quickly. The meal started with Banchan of course, the small side dishes that accompany every traditional Korean meal. We were served six different types and the variety changes each day. We had two types of Kimchi (fermented cabbage seasoned with chilies and salt)…the traditional one and one with Squid and Cucumbers. We were also served a Fish cake, Bean jelly, and a spicy preparation of pickled Bean sprouts. While the Banchan was good, it did not stack up to the one at Hoban. We ordered a variety of entrees, with one of our favorites being the Kalbi – (#12 Short Rib Grill $13.99), often referred to as Korean BBQ. The ribs were meaty, had a nice char to them and beautiful flavor. Another favorite was the Bulgogi – (#11 Slice Beef Grill $10.99). The strips of marinated beef, served on a grill were tender and had a nice sweet flavor to them. As Korean food is primarily centered around meat, with the above two dishes, we thought we had hit a home run. The #34 Kimchi Stew $8.99 got mixed reviews at our table. Some of us really liked the spicy and tangy flavors (sort of like Sriracha) and thought it was perfect to warm you up on a cold winter day. The #18 Mackerel Grill $11.99 was ok. The strong sea-like smell is somewhat of a put off but the taste was good. Our least favorite was the Jajangmyeon – (#16 Noodles with Black Bean Pasta $8.99). It was a giant bowl of pasta along with a black bean sauce and other vegetables…the flavors were mild and it didn’t taste like much – our Korean friend however said that it tasted very authentic.
$$. Most dishes are $10-$15. Bring Cash – no checks or credit cards accepted.
Here's the review of Hoban we posted on our website.
1989 Silver Bell Rd
Eagan, MN 55121
Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
Recommendation: Very Good. There’s a dearth of Korean restaurants in the Twin Cities and although Hoban isn’t fine dining, they offer plenty of top-notch menu items that made our meal memorable.
Don’t let Hoban’s strip mall location in Eagan scare you. Granted, the outlying suburbs aren’t the neighborhoods you would generally associate with good ethnic restaurants, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with places like Satay 2 Go, La Mixteca and Mandarin Kitchen, all of which have a profile similar to Hoban. We’ve long believed (and we’ve had it reinforced several times) that the best way to enjoy ethnic food is with a large group of close friends. We’ve enjoyed some of our finest ethnic meals with this group of 10, a mini United Nations of sorts representing over half a dozen countries, and Hoban was no different. There’s a Korean in the mix (he grew up in Chicago and has never been to Korea, so he’s technically a pseudo-Korean) and we relied on him to order. While we waited for our food, we indulged in a bottle of OB, a Korean pale lager.
It wasn’t long before the food started piling up. Traditional Korean food is accompanied by Banchan, small side dishes that accompany the meal. The Banchan included Kimchi (cabbage seasoned with chilies and salt) and various other dishes including pickled vegetables, radish, and sprouts – they were all really good and are replenished free of charge on request. We ordered a diverse set of entrees, with one of our favorites being the Kimchee Jungol, a hot pot with Kimchee, beef, tofu, vegetables and noodles. Although we were hoping the dish would be mind-numbing spicy (it’s always fun to see the diners sweat and have their eyes water), it really wasn’t. Nevertheless, it had great flavor and consistency, and we would go back just for that one dish. Its comfort food at its finest, and although it may not bring back old memories like it did for our Korean friend, it will for us going forward. The Kalbi, beef short ribs with chef’s special sauce, was also amazing – although the ribs weren’t very meaty, the flavors were complex. And don’t forget to order the Bulgoki, mildly marinated strips of beef. Meat is at the center of much of Korean food and these dishes certainly didn’t disappoint. The Dolsot Bibimbop, a rice dish with vegetables and egg, is served in very hot stone bowl which causes the rice to sizzle and stick to the sides of the bowl. You’ll have to scrape the sides for the scraps, but if you ask us, the texture of the crispy rice that adheres to the sides is one of the highlights of this dish. There were a couple of dishes though that we didn’t care for – the Sulung Tang, a beef bone soup, just tasted like salty broth and the Cha Jang Myun, noodles with black bean sauce, didn’t leave a lasting impression. The service was friendly and up to the mark, and overall we left the restaurant feeling satisfied and having got our money’s worth.
$$. Most dishes are $10-$15.
Hm, I thought I wrote a response to this post last night so I'm unsure if I didn't hit post or I wrote something offensive.
I do really enjoy Korea Restaurant for its on campus location, but after about 8 visits there I can't say I feel it's the best Korean in the city. I haven't been to Dong Yang yet so King's tops my list. I feel like Korea Restaurant's flavors are more muted than I like, not as fresh and distinct as King's. I generally get the Bi Bim Bop or soup with dumplings. Similarly, I feel like the pickled veggies offered on the buffet are alright, but not as bright and crisp tasting as ones I've had elsewhere.
I've never experienced the "charming number system", if I remember correctly someone always brought our order to our table. Sometimes I've found the staff to be a bit surly, but have noticed that they were very friendly when my regular east bank dining companion asked for vegetarian modifications to her meal.
Jim, thanks for the useful info.
One caution: I'm not sure I'm properly interpreting the comment about ignoring parking signs, but based on years of personal experience, I would strongly urge folks to strictly heed any/all parking signs near that part of the University. I once parked in the lot clearly labeled for Chipotle customers, made the mistake of going into Chipotle long enough to ask for change for a $20 so I could pay the pay box before I came back in to order my food, and as I was about to pay the pay box, discovered my car had been BOOTED! Nothing like paying nearly $200 for a burrito.
I very firmly but patiently explained the situation to the management that their hired parking enforcement company was operating illegally (booting companies at that time were not allowed to wait in the parking lot and do surveillance) but they said the surrounding businesses collectively hired the company and there was nothing that they could do about it.
I also received a parking ticket on that stretch for the front 10" of my car nosing beyond the no parking sign.
Bottom line: as a citizen of integrity I accept responsibility for these things but if you are a Chowhound in search of great food in that area, I advise you to be prepared to park legally and walk a couple blocks or factor the parking deck into your meal expense.
I'd hate for fantastic bulgogi texture to cost someone hundreds of dollars in tickets/tow.