Yama's - first visit
We had an errand to do in West Lebanon, NH so I searched Chowhound for the restaurant I remember people raving about. Except I thought it was a Thai restaurant somewhere in the Hanover/Lebanon area. I found some good reports on Yama's which is Korean/Japanese. It's a very small restaraunt, no much of a decor but the people are very friendly and anxious to provide good service. The table was set with chop sticks for example but when he brought some condiments the waiter asked if we preferred forks and had some on the tray for us.
We are not very familiar with Korean cooking having only visited the Korean restaurant in Manchester a few times several years ago but we are pretty much willing to try anything (except sushi).
The condiments are a nice touch and so much nicer than some Chinese restaurants that put out fried wonton skins and sweet sauce. There were six tiny dishes: seaweed, bean sprouts possibly flavored with sesame oil, bean sprouts with a bit of red spice, maybe potato in a tasty sauce, yummy cucumber in a slighty spicy chili sauce and steamed broccoli flavored with just a touch of sesame oil. We were also served hot barley tea which we had never had before.
My husband said he prefers Thai food but I enjoyed our meal. For appetizers my husband chose Yukyejang Soup - shredded beef, egg & vegetables in spicy soup. He loves hot and sour soup but this was too spicy for him. He really liked my choice of Nokdujun: pan fried batter of freshly ground mung beans and vegetables.
I liked both entrees. Pork Bulgoki had an unusual taste from long marinating, maybe wine but was also spicy. It was not too spicy, though. The meat was very thin, very tender and was nicely complemented with a few pieces of lightly cooked carrot and broccoli. Our second choice was Japchae, stir-fried sweet potato noodles with vegetables. We opted to have chicken added. I love noodles of all kinds. These were like celaphane noodles. I can't tell the difference between the different glass noodles/threads and these didn't taste like sweet potato but were good anyway.
We had to stop for directions. The restaurant is located at 72-74 South Main St in Hanover. If you get off Rt 89 at the exit for Power House mall, drive past the mall and keep heading toward Hanover. It will be on your right. We didn't see any of the landmarks we were given so watch for their small sign. It's a small building with a small parking lot. The first person we asked had never heard of it yet we were probably only a mile or two away. I saw 5 star ratings on some website but be aware this is more of a hole in the wall type of place, an overlook gem, perhaps.
We will be in the area again in a few months so if anyone knows of a good Thai restaurant in the area, please post. I could have sworn I read about one, perhaps in a nearby town. I read that the one in downtown Hanover wasn't very good.
If we had had more time I would have liked to have stopped at the food co-op and maybe go over to King Arthur Flour in Norwich.
Yama's is great! There are two of them: one near West Lebanon and another in Hanover. The menu is a little more extensive and the atmosphere a little brighter in Hanover, but I still prefer the one closer to West Lebanon because it feels so intimate. My favorites: kimchi pancake, bibimbab( beef, egg, vegetables, served with rice), bulgoki, and oyako donburi (chicken with vegetables, egg, and a slightly sweet sauce all served on top of rice- I usually can't do sweet, but this hits the spot.). Besides serving inexpensive, good food, Yama has great service. You can tell the workers there really want to please you. I'm just surprised they haven't starting serving dessert yet. And oh yeah, they don't take reservations.
Some other Hanover places to try: Jewel of India (in Hanover- not the best service, but really tasty food: the Vegetarian Appetizer platter is a must), Umpleby's (bakery in Hanover family run and operated), and Lou's (A Dartmouth tradition, it's a quality diner with always tasty specials like Sweet potato pancakes, poached eggs on whole grain english muffin with sauteed spinach and local cabot cheese. Their blueberry pancakes are AMAZING- only downside is that they charge extra for maple syrup!).
And about the Thai place near West Lebanon, I'm not sure where that is. The one in Hanover, Mai Thai, is pretty mediocre, although their Pad Thai is the best in town (Yama's and the Orient also serve Pad Thai).
A few other differences I've noticed between the Hanover and West Leb locations:
1. The West Leb location is generally not busy anymore
2. There are some minor menu differences (a few price differences, and a few items I'm used to from WL that aren't in Hanover)
3. An odd thing has happened to me at the Hanover location: they've refused to give me a side order of kimchi. I'd write this off as a weird waitstaff issue, except it's happened to me three times. Unlike the West Leb location, where it's listed as a side dish for $1.50, it's not listed on the Hanover menu, and they won't give it to you even if you ask. It's not like they don't have kimchi, and it's a pretty standard side.
I'm happy to have a second location, and like both, but, at least until #3 is addressed, I'll stick to the West Leb location.
That's so interesting about the kimchi issue at the Hanover location. I always order kimchi at the West Leb location and they always bring a big bowYl of it. At the Hanover location, they did give it to me (maybe our waiter was different from yours), but the serving was TINY! I agree with you about still going to the West Leb one. The Hanover one still has to work out some kinks.