Insadong - The Korean Stalwart in Coquitlam
Sometimes it's worth posting yet another review of a restaurant that already for many years has won many accolades from the food press and diners. Insadong certainly deserves all the positive vibes it has been getting over the years. The food is fantastic and exceptionally valued and the service is incredibly efficient and top notch. So why post yet another review of this place? I noticed last night that in a packed restaurant (perhaps a couple of hundred diners), that our table was the only non-Korean table in the place...this will need to change.
Insadong is a well laid out, well designed, spacious and bright restaurant. Despite the crowds, I never felt claustrophobic in the least. (Not something I can say at many restaurants downtown where they often get uncomfortably cramped and noisy).
I was there with visiting relatives who came out for the Eastside Culture Crawl. We went in at around 6pm when the restaurant was about half-full. Within the hour...it was packed with Korean 20-30 somethings enjoying (for the most part) either BBQ or Hot Pot.
After perusing the extensive menu for a couple of minutes, we decided on the BBQ combination which lists for $109. This is an introduction to Korean cuisine for my dining companions, so I made the right choice (If I were to dine with others, I probably would have opted for some of the homestyle dishes.)
The menu states that the BBQ Combination can feed 5 to 6 people...but let me tell you, after the first two courses of apps, japchae, seaweed/jellyfish salad and tofu soup, a gigantic dish full of meat and seafood arrived. It was an awesome and intimidating amount of meat piled up on that large white plate. I didn't think we could finish it all. We loosened our belts and dug in...we actually finished most of it and we had enough BBQ left over for about two more diners.
The BBQ marinade was nearly perfect - not overly sweet like you would often experience in lesser establishments. The meat was all melt in your mouth tender. The appetizers and salads had a deft and light touch to the seasoning. The panchan which came with the standard potato, sprouts, kimchi and pickles was nicely prepared.
The service was incredible...especially with the "Korean doorbell" at your table which magically summoned a server within seconds of pressing it.
Highly recommend....and at about $20 per person...it was an incredible deal. For those on transit: Insadong is within a short walk from the Skytrain station at North Rd and Lougheed.
Great review as always fmed. I've been to Insadong a few times now and agree it's one of the best in the GVRD. However, I find that it still can't beat the korean restaurants in LA. I've asked a number of Korean friends if there's anything like that here and unfortunately, I'm told that I can't compare LA to Vancouver as there's nothing close to the LA ones.
re: gourmet wife
Agreed, gourmet wife. How my LA-based Korean colleague describes Insandong is that it plays in the same league as the best LA Korean restaurants, but it will not be in the top echelon. He does think that it is a very good Korean restaurant and it compares quite well with the best that LA has to offer. The Korean community in LA is just huge compared to here. It is analogous to Vancouver's expectations of Chinese restaurants compared to many other cities.