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Jun 6, 2008 02:57 PM

Restaurant 5000ans - Korean

I passed a Korean restaurant I hadn't noticed before on St-Denis near Carré St. Louis, Restaurant 5000ans. Says it is "santé" and they also announce shabu-shabu. Has anyone here been and tried any of the food? I don't recall it being mentioned in previous Korean food posts.

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  1. I'm taking this lack of response as a bad sign .. might go check it out myself soon and will report back if it is notable.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Plateaumaman

      Thanks Plateaumaman! I look forward to your report, and thank you again for your previous report on Miga.

      Is this restaurant on the west side of St. Denis, in a walkup? If so, this is the location of one of the first Korean restaurants I went to in the 90's. They closed in the late 90's, which is a shame as they had excellent food.

      1. re: moh

        No, it's on the east side above Sherbrooke, at street level and there is a Tibetan restaurant above it. Haven't had a chance to try it yet but I'll report back soon. I'm always on alert for good Asian places on the Plateau.

        1. re: Plateaumaman

          Stopped by for a quick lunch today. It's only been open for 13
          days which is why no one had any info. They say it has been
          quite busy already with people coming to cook bbq on the tables.

          It smelled musty in the restaurant so we sat outside on one of
          the raised platforms, kneeling at a low round table - not a good
          place to wear a short skirt!

          We ordered a seaweed salad that was quite fresh and tasty,
          lettuce, seaweed and tofu in a big heap. Then shared a seafood
          pancake that was very tasty. I know some of you are experts on
          these to this one is worth trying. It had a lot of octopus in
          it and plenty of spring onion. Then we tried their
          honey/ginger/cinnamon punch and their ginger tea with dagwa.
          The menu had such fabulous fresh looking dagwa snacks but when
          they arrived they were readymade, prepackaged things ie. a rice
          cracker, a green tea candy and an ice cream roll. Still fun as
          dessert and they brought us some green tea ice cream as well.

          We barely scraped the surface of their rather extensive menu so
          I'll go back and try some other items next time like their
          tofu/seafood casserole, their shabu shabu. And I look forward to feedback from our resident Korean food experts!

    2. I finally got to Restaurant 5000 Ans this weekend. It was packed with clients, and when you walk into this attractively decorated space, the smell of the cooking is intoxicating.

      First, some notes about the format. You can order dishes a la carte, or you can order menus for 2 consisting of various grilled meats and shabu-shabu. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese term used to describe various soup options. No doubt this is an attempt to make the menu more familiar to those used to Japanese cuisine. I did find some of the menu descriptions a bit confusing for someone who is used to Korean dining, and unfortunately, they didn't always include the Korean name of the dish in the description, so I spent a lot of time guessing what they meant.

      Unlike many Korean restaurants, ban chan (little side dishes to go with the food) does not come out in little plates with the meal. Nor is kimchi automatically included in the meal. If you order certain meals, or the menus for two, you automatically get miso soup (done in a very Japanese manner, not at all like traditional Korean Den jang soup) and a bowl of Bibimbap (rice with seasoned vegetables on top). The Bibimbap is served in a small bowl, without egg, and without kochuchang (red spicy chile sauce, an essential component of bibimbap). You have to request the kochuchang separately, or at least, we did. The bibimbap is tasty, as they do a good job of seasoning the vegetables, but this is not what I am used to. You can order kimchi and banchan dishes a la carte, but you will be charged for it. I noticed that many of the dishes come with some kimchi mixed in, but you do not get kimchi on the side unless you pay for it.

      Cold boricha (barley tea) is served throughout the meal, very refreshing in the summer. I assume they will serve the hot boricha in the winter. It is a nice touch, and the servers were very prompt with refills as needed. The service was very good, and very friendly.

      Now on to the food! We ordered a few dishes a la carte, and a few set meals. The food came out in no apparent order, it seemed somewhat random, whatever was ready first came out. I don't know if it was because they were very busy, or if it was because we ordered somewhat haphazardly.

      First out: ttok bokki (or ddok bokki, long rice cakes in spicy chile sauce). I am used to this dish being a sauteed dish with a thick layer of chile sauce. This version more resembles a stew or soup. The chile sauce is essentially a spicy broth with fish cakes and ddok (rice cakes) floating around. This is the spiciest item on the menu according to the chile pepper icons, and indeed, this is a very spicy and tasty broth. I think our resident chileheads will like this dish, it has a very nice chile kick, and good flavour. The rice cakes were perfectly cooked, with a soft chewy texture. The fishcakes were a nice change from the usual ground pork or beef that is often used. I enjoyed this dish, but my only beef was that I wasn't expecting a soup. That beef is minor. It is a good dish.

      We ordered edamame appetizer (again, a Japanese dish, not a traditionally Korean dish), which was fine. We also had the mandoo (pan-fried eggrolls), which were tasty, with a nice crisp outside and a meaty savoury filling. The mandoo were very good. We ordered the seafood pancake (haemul pajon), which was very good as well. The pajon had a crispy surface, but I found the inside a little gooey, and there was not very much seafood. I would say that this is a very good version of Pajon despite these shortcomings, certainly the flavour of the pajon was excellent. But I still think the pajon at Maison Bulgogi remains my favorite version of this dish in Montreal, better overall texture and flavour, more seafood, better dipping sauce, and bigger pancake for less cost. I would rank 5000 Ans pajon second best of those I have tasted.

      We ordered the kimchi combination plate ($8.99). This came with 4 types of kimchi, traditional Napa cabage kimchi, cucumber kimchi, kakdugi or diakon radish kimchi and a white chile-less Napa kimchi. The portion was large (I would hope so given the price!) and it was great to see the variety of kimchi on offer. The kimchi is good, but not great. It is one of the better kimchi offerings I've seen in Montreal. But the kimchi was a little young, it had not reached the perfect state of fermentation with that lovely balanced sourness that comes with fermentation. It could have used a few more days out of the fridge, percolating away. I also found the chile sauce a bit sweet for my liking, there is a lot of excess sugar, and between the lack of sourness and the excess sweetness, I did not find the kimchi very balanced. It is nice and spicy though, so they don't skimp on spiciness. I like the kimchi, but I don't feel compelled to eat a whole plateful by myself.

      The next dish out was the Haemul Soondubu, a seafood, tofu soup in a mildly spicy broth. On the menu, the description mentions yogurt. I found this odd, as Koreans do not use yogurt at all in the cuisine. I think they were using yogurt to describe the texture of the soft tofu, but it is misleading. I repeat, there is no yogurt in this dish (thank goodness). There is also not much seafood, they tend to skimp of seafood. Perhaps they were running out of ingredients on a very busy evening? But not to worry, the seafood was an insignificant part of this dish, the real star was the wonderful soft tofu in spicy broth! WOW! This is the best soondubu I've had in Montreal, the texture of the tofu was silky and intoxicating! If you like soft tofu, this dish is heaven. The broth was mildly spicy and well-flavoured. I could have eaten several bowls of this soup. If you are looking for a seafood soup, this isn't it. But this was my favorite dish of the evening.

      We then had the mild chicken combo and the tenderloin combo. These are grilled or panfried meats served with rice and seasoned vegetables and the miso soup. These were served (to my surprise) as variations of dolsot bibimbap. They were served in a large hot stone bowl, with a bed of rice covered by the meat and various vegetables. The chicken was grilled, the beef looked pan-fried. The beef was bulgogi, the traditional marinated thin slices of beef that is very popular in Korea. The meats were delicious, very well-seasoned and very tasty. This restaurant does an excellent job with meat. The vegetables were also very tasty and flavourful. The selection of vegetables included spinach, soy bean sprouts, carrots and kosari, a Korean dried fern. The kosari was a lovely surprise, as it is quite rare to find in restaurants, and it was prepared very well. I would happily just eat a plate of kosari. The bibimbap was excellent, but oddly enough, there was no accompanying kochuchang. I had to request it, and the server quickly brought a small dish of kochuchang. I found the kochuchang too sweet. They seem to like to add a lot of sugar to their spicy items, and I found the sweetness overpowering. I only put a little on my rice (normally I pour it on). Fortunately, the meats and vegetables are so well-seasoned that the rice was still very tasty.

      Overall, I liked 500 Ans. The soondubu is fabulous, and I think they do a great job on the meats. I plan to go back to try the meats grilled at the table. This place is a little unorthodox, and I found some of the menu catered to those who are more familiar with Japanese cuisine. I also found the place to be a bit more expensive than some of the other Korean restaurants in town, but for the best items on the menu, the cost is justified. I just wish (sigh) that the kimchi was a touch better. A recurring theme for me. Ah well. Parental units coming to town soon, good kimchi ahead.

      19 Replies
      1. re: moh

        Perfect, so glad you went to check it out. I've got a possé of friends organized to go try it this weekend so your post helps us a lot. I love soft tofu, will definitely try that. Maybe we'll grill meat at the table instead of shabu-shabu.

        1. re: Plateaumaman

          Plateaumaman, if you decide to go for the grilling meats at the table, please let me know what you think! I suspect the fabulous food odors were the grilled meats, it was a very wonderful smell. and the soft tofu... yum....

          1. re: moh

            Yes, so I went with a pretty big group and we had three table burners going .. the seafood shabu shabu, the special beef rib bbq and a chicken/octopus bbq. I have to say that this probably would be more fun on a cold winter night rather than a steamy, hot September evening. The shabu shabu was described by one of my friends as being pretty hardcore i.e. rather unidentifiable bits of fish sausage? simmering in there. It was more like a casserole than a hot pot, so not what we expected.

            The beef ribs were good, not outstanding but good, and probably responsible for excellent aromas you detected. The chicken/octopus bbq had lots of red sauce and nearly no octopus but some nice rice cake.

            We had the seafood pancake and the tofu seafood soup as appetizers although all the food arrived kind of willy-nilly, random bowls of rice to go with bbqs coming when you least expected it etc. The pancake and tofu soup were definitely the stand-out favourites of everyone.

            We had some sake and a pitcher of beer and lots of fun. It was fresh and different and not too expensive. So I'd go back but I think at this time of year I'd leave the cooking to the chef .. this was a mamas' night out and the girls thought the bbq'ing at the table was a bit labour intensive. And we were concerned one of the waitresses would catch fire as she carried the shabu-shabu over the flaming burner cooking the ribs. Some kinks to be worked out there but definitely a fun spot to hang out, nice and busy too which was fun as it was pretty quiet the first few times I went.

            1. re: Plateaumaman

              Thanks Plateaumaman! I was wondering, did you find the beef ribs sweet? I didn't notice the bulgogi in the bibimbap was too sweet, but their kimchi is definitely too sweet, so I was worried about a trend.

              1. re: moh

                Sorry for the delay - I was in Toronto eating soup dumplings and Japanese natto! (Is there any natto in Montreal? must post that question too ...)

                I didn't find the ribs too sweet but they weren't as savory as some others had, not enough marinade for my taste. Quite amazing to think we didn't actually have any kimchi at all. We didn't want to commit to a big kimchi dish.

                1. re: Plateaumaman

                  Hey, I just wanted to post that there is a little Korean cafe near Concordia's Loyola campus. It has a red awning and beautiful little terrase with lots of colorful flowers. It was once called Chez Yi but, it's Di Moa or something like that now. The place changed hands about a month ago. A huge improvement over the last owners. Their menu is not big, in fact, there are only a few Korean dishes, they offer sushi as well to cater the university crowd.

                  For a tiny place with few offerings, I have to say, they have the best bulgogi I've tried in Montreal. It's bulgogi stir-fried with some vegetables served with a side of white rice. It's well seasoned and not too sweet. I often find bulgogi too sweet for my taste at many, many of the Korean restaurants here in Montreal.

                  Moh, I don't know about you but, I grew up with what I can southern Korean cooking. LOL My mother is from the Busan area and I find her cooking to be more savorier and spicier versus the food in say the Seoul area which I find less spicier and sweeter? Do you feel the same??

                  Anyways, the rest of the food is good for cafe style eating and probably the only decent eats near the university. Thank goodness! I also love the kimchi stir-fried rice. The other versions I've tried lack flavor but, I think their's is quite tasty and spicy!

                  I just had to mention the bulgogi because it's THAT good!

                  1. re: calla0413

                    Calla0413, I have been eyeing that place for a while! It has a very unusual name for a Korean place. I totally get what you are saying about overly sweet bulgogi, so it is nice to hear there might be one that isn't too sweet. I don't suppose you know if they are open Sunday evenings? That is when we are out in that neighbourhood the most.

                    Re: Southern vs. Seoul style of cooking, I am embarrassed to admit, my geography is terrible, and I have not really noticed this difference in styles of cooking, but this is no doubt because of my lack of attention. My mother is from North Korea, Pyong Yang area. It makes sense that there are regional differences in tastes, but I am just not very familiar with them, as I grew up here in North America and I think all the styles kind of blended in the immigration population. I shall have to quiz my parents about these differences!

                    1. re: moh

                      I believe Sunday is the only day they are closed. I'll double check when I'm near there again...which should be tomorrow. LOL

                      Re: Regional Korean Cooking...I'm only aware of it because my mother has commented on it and I've noticed it as well on a recent trip to Seoul. The food I found was sooo sweet that a lot of the times it was not enjoyable for me. My mother said the North Korean cooking is much cleaner and simpler but, tastier. She's the hound in our family. As for regional cooking, I know in the States that it's quite the same. South = Spicy, North = Not so spicy.

                      1. re: calla0413

                        My mother agrees with your characterization of regional Korean cooking completely! This explains why she is not such a fan of very spicy food.

                        I was thinking of your mom today, as we have just had the yummiest myong nang jeot (salted pollack roe, seasoned with sesame oil, sesame seed, pepper and kochukaru) that was from Busan. Many happy thoughts :)

                2. re: moh

                  Woah! Where did you find natto in Toronto??

                  1. re: Davedigger

                    Davedigger, I think you might be confusing two things. Natto is fermented Japanese soy beans. I am referring to Myung Nang Jeot, which are salted fish roe.

                    Unfortunately, good myung nang jeot is hard to find anywhere in North America, even in LA, epicenter of Korean immigration. This batch was brought form Korea by a friend. It is truly exceptional.

                    As for natto, I am certain you could find it pre-packaged and frozen in Japanese or Asian grocery stores, I know you can find it here in Montreal, and I am certain you can find it in Toronto. To find sources in Toronto, you may want to put an enquiry on the Ontario Board. Good luck!

                    1. re: moh

                      Oh, I think the natto question goes back to something I posted, not Myung Nang Jeot. I found it in Toronto at a new Japanese place in Village By the Grange across from OCA, name escapes me at the moment, very nice modern Japanese food, cool place.

                      And here in Montreal I asked the chef at the sushi place on Duluth, Tataki, if he knows where to buy natto. He said you can only get it at the Japanese/Korean grocery store around Queen Mary but ... he'd consider serving it if he had a freezer! And asked what kind I would want which surprised me as I didn't realize there were many kinds. I made something up since I've only had natto a few times, something about natto with raw tuna. He told me other people have talked to him about. So there's hope for natto nuts around here too.

                      1. re: Plateaumaman

                        I was at T&S today on Parc, and they had natto (the person in front of me happened to be asking about it)

                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          Great! I'll check it out. Lots of us roaming around asking for natto these days.

                          Btw, nice review of Restaurant 5000 Ans in the Gazette this week:

                          1. re: Plateaumaman

                            There's no shortage of natto in this town. Every Japanese/Korean grocery has natto in their freezers.

                          2. re: cherylmtl

                            Hi there,

                            What is T&S and where on Parc is it?


                            1. re: annalimey

                              T&S used to be a store that sold Japanese foodstuffs, including home-made tofu. They closed up over a year ago, and I believe are only producing commercially now. You'll notice the posting you are referring to is from 2008, which might explain why you can't find the store...

                        2. re: moh

                          Sorry moh! I meant to reply to Plateauman's post about eating soup dumplings and Japanese natto in Toronto...

                          1. re: Davedigger

                            After Sarah Musgrave wrote a write-up a few weekends ago I took hubby for dinner. I will follow this with a link to my post on it but suffice to say I did not enjoy it. I don't know if this is proper to do but I am sure the chowhounders will let me know swiftly if this is not a proper way to post.

                            I walked out very disappointed in the the total experience. I was especially sad that there was no kimchi but instead as a side-dish we had bimibap: for Korean BBQ one needs the efforts of the cook to prepare Kimchi as well as other condiments meant to be eaten as pickles with the BBq

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I ended up going to 5000 ans yesterday, the Concordia Ghetto location, after trying to go to Kazu and seeing they were on a week-long break.

                I had never gone to any of the other 5000 ans (apparently there are two other locations) and this is my third time eating Korean here in the city as I have generally avoided eating Korean in Montréal since this city isn't exactly known for renowned Korean fare.

                Anyways, so I ordered the dolsot bibimbap, the only kind of bibimbap available ("dolsot" means it is served in a hot stone bowl) and I was disappointed that the vegetables in the dish (the banchan) were limited to minced carrots, steamed bean sprouts, and a few raw romaine lettuce leaves. Usually, the greens that come in the bibimbap would also include seasoned spinach, mushrooms, and even eggplant so I felt my dish was a bit bereft of some essentials.

                Additionally, this place is more like a bar (I got there for 9:30 pm) and Korean drinking spots don't serve the usual banchan that they serve at Korean restaurants, so we did not get served any kimchi or any other side dish. That was disappointing.

                My dinner mate got the naeng myun, which are cold buckwheat noodles in a cold radish and anchovy broth. This is a summer dish that can easily get screwed up, and yeah, it was a bit screwed up. The broth was a bit too vinegary and the noodles weren't that toothsome goodness you usually get but instead it was a bit hard. I especially like it when they thinly slice Asian pears in with the broth and add minced cucumbers and toasted sesame seeds, but none of that was served here.

                Well, my bibimbap was alright despite the lack of essential ingredients, but I have to say it's pretty hard to mess up on this dish.

                I'd have to try some other dishes to get my full take on the restaurant. But here's my initial and short review.

                P.S. It's called "5000 ans" because Korea is at least 5000 years old.