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Kimchi pancakes and sweet chile burn at Korean Garden North

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The squid’s a bit overly toothsome but we’re pleased nonetheless by the flavor fusion and soft vegetables essentially reduced to fibrous candy. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The squid’s a bit overly toothsome but we’re pleased nonetheless by the flavor fusion and soft vegetables essentially reduced to fibrous candy.

Korean Garden North, 7715 Dublin Blvd., #170, koreangardennorth.com

If the name sounds familiar, it should, as there’s also a 2-ish-year-old Korean Garden in Fountain. And there was a Korean Garden on South Academy Boulevard circa 2016, under the same owner, Ramona Burns. She also ran the Orange Plate Café (home to the Bulgogi Hoagie) on Peterson Road around a decade ago, which later became Taste of Korea and had a Taste of Korea Express arm at one point.

This tidy new North location just opened a little over a month ago, with dinner plates ranging from $11.99 to $25.99, the average being around $13.99 and most including banchan (small side condiment plates) — it’s the same menu as in Fountain, with more affordable lunch fare. My dining mate’s never had a kimchi pancake so I insist on it as a starter and he’s quickly won over by the starchy tanginess amped by a salty soy dip. I do ruin his fun a bit by detailing how phenomenal it is to eat them in the street markets of Seoul with makgeolli, an unpasteurized (short-shelf-lived) cloudy rice wine rarely exported for that reason. But his joy’s restored when we dive into a scallion-garnished, sizzling cast-iron plate of ojingeo bokeum,  spicy stir-fried squid, with an inky, earthy, sesame-forward chile sauce that’s brown sugar-sweet.

That makes for a nice balance with the heat, which builds slowly but smolders long after later bites. The squid’s a bit overly toothsome but we’re pleased nonetheless by the flavor fusion and soft vegetables essentially reduced to fibrous candy. 



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