At the suggestion of a reader, the hubby and I dropped in at Korea House on Jordan. Not ever having been to a Korean restaurant, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect so it worked out well that we stopped in on a Friday night when dinner is buffet only.
The building is small, with an awkward entrance that causes incoming diners to walk right into whomever may be checking out. The staff is sensitive to this though and we were quickly ushered to a table and our drink orders taken. After a few minutes, we caught onto the fact that it was simply walk up and grab a plate. Weekday lunches, and Friday and Saturday nights are buffet only, so no menu is available.
Our server, catching onto the fact that we were new patrons helpfully walked us through the buffet, rattling off names and ingredients. I picked up a little bit of most of the options.
The photo above shows my plate. Starting at about 11 o’clock and going clockwise we have rice noodles in sauce, fried rice, shredded potatoes, a fried pocket I didn’t catch the name of (perhaps Gunmandu?), veggie roll, bbq chicken, and beef with veggies. In the center are thin rice noodles and zucchini.
The rice noodles, dressing in a shockingly orange sauce, were puffy with an oddly chewy texture. Perhaps because of the color, they put me in mind of stale cheese puffs. Stale, slightly gummy cheese puffs. Flavor-wise they were spicy, at the medium-hot end of things. My husband liked them but I found them too spicy and the texture too off-putting. (Disclaimer: I have issues with foods that have a spongy, chewy texture. Those without this bias will probably find these quite enjoyable.)
The fried rice was sticky rice cooked in butter. It was edible, but not something I’d likely load up my plate with in the future.
The grated potatoes were the first dish to really grab my attention. Well seasoned, tender, and cooked in what tasted like butter, they were fantastic and I could easily have made a meal of these.
The fried dumplings featured a crispy exterior and minced filling made of carrots and what appear to be rice noodles. The flavor was light and flavorful, cooked in oil and perfectly mild.
The veggie roll was an experiment for me because the last time I tried a California roll the seaweed made me gag. In the name of adventure (and this blog), I decided to take another try. Seaweed still isn’t my thing, but the sticky rice was well cooked and the veggies (cucumber, carrot, radish, and something clear and tangy) were fresh with just a bit of crispness. A dash of mustard lent a bit of seasoning.
The bbq chicken was well coated with a dry sauce which got spicier as you ate.
The beef with veggies was a sweet dish, with a hint of soy based tanginess. The carrots were fresh and sweet, the beef was a decent enough cut with a bit of springiness left. The onions were cooked until translucent giving them a bit of sweetness but shying away from caramelization.
The thin rice noodles were lightly oiled and seasoned but the gelatinous texture put me off.
The zucchini were wonderful. Crunchy and coated with a slippery smooth, tangy sauce.
Part way through our first plates, our server came by to announce that the house special, beef ribs, had just been added to the buffet. When we did not immediately hop up, she returned a few minutes later with a plate for us to try.
Since they were straight from the kitchen, the ribs were still hot when they reached our table. The beef had a chewier texture and a sweet, smoky flavor.
We capped off our meal with the “donuts”.
A fried dough ball, rolled in powdered sugar, Korea House distinguished its donuts with a thin ribbon of paste (some sort of bean paste?) through the center. Cooked through, the treat was lightly sweet and tasty, a nice end to our dinner.
Korea House caters to both the adventurous palates (spicy squid, kimchi) and those with tamer tastes (potatoes, zucchini, beef and veggies), as well as wide range in between. The food is fresh and the buffet was kept well stocked and refreshed. Friendly, attentive service ensured our drinks were kept full. The food is fresh though the cuts of meat tended toward the chewy. For a laid back atmosphere and un-Americanized flavors, Korea House is a good spot. Our meal seemed a bit pricey for dinner, assuming the lunch buffet is priced differently, that may be the way to go.
Total for the meal: $28.88 (Two buffet dinners, two soft drinks)
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