- The Entree:
- The Side/Drinks:
- The Atmosphere:
I’ve never had a heart shaped steak before and quite frankly this isn’t how I had envision it going down. Somewhere in the deep caverns of my so-called feminist mind was a dream that I would eat my first heart shaped steak on a romantic Valentines evening, serenaded by my tall, dark and handsome lover standing beside a violinist with a curly mustache.
How it really went down was that my parents, sister and I, on a boring weekday, decided to try out a new Korean bbq restaurant my parents saw in the local Chinese newspaper ad. We walked in in our t-shirt and jeans, sat down beside a table of some very serious looking suited Korean business men, giggle at the heart shaped steak in the menu, and ordered the whole set.
Well.. such is life
140 York Blvd.
Richmond Hill, ON
Bulgolgi Brothers is an international chain of Korean bbq restaurants. The Korean word “bulgolgi” means marinated meat and can be applied to beef, pork and sometimes, chicken. While most of you foodies, I’m sure, have been to a Korean bbq restaurant or two, this one, I assure you, is a tad different. The restaurant itself is pretty similar to most larger restaurants in the Richmond Hill East Beaver Creek area – tall ceilings, good, clean, probably very expensive, modern looking interior design. The lounge to the left of the entrance is gorgeous, unfortunately, it was closed at the time so I couldn’t get a good picture. Will definitely be back for a drink at some point.
As all Korean meals go, our meal started off with an eclectic selection of starters but boy was this interesting. I’m sure at this point you can tell I’m not Korean, so this meal was really quite a learning experience for me. Instead of the standard kim chi, seaweed, sweet beans and maybe a little sweet mashed potato, here, we were greeted some rather interesting things. Our sweet and incredibly helpful waitress explained that we had Italian parsley, edamame, regular spicy kim chi, the milder white kim chi, sweet lotus root, pumpkin mash, spinach in some sort of fermenated paste, and corn on the cob. We also had some barley tea. What an interesting start.
The most interesting, I think, was the Italian parsley marinated in soy sauce, sugar, oil and vinegar. The corn on the cob was warm and bouncy, almost rubbery – very different and quite interesting.
For our first visit we ordered B9, the Noon Kkotdeungsim Modeum Gui. This package consisted of 3 types of meat – the ribeye, heart shape, and marinated. We also ordered R1 Chadol Daenjang-jjigae, fermented soy been stew with beef brisket and vegetables and the R4 Mul-naengmyeon, cold noodles in a tangy broth served with beef and a boiled egg.
Both R1 and R4 were tasty with the R4 cold noodles being the most interesting. You can add your own vinegar and mustard to taste. R1 was slightly salty and medium spicy. I kind of wished there was more meat in there.
All 3 kinds of meat were fantastic. Compared to other local Korean bbq restaurants, this restaurant definitely provides a higher quality cut of meat. You could choose how well you’d like the waitress to cook your meet and choose what to dip your meat into – the salt, spicy sauce or the sauce with the fermented paste. The kalbi, marinated meat, was juicy, tender, and ever so slightly sweet.
Dessert was perhaps a little less exciting. We had a glass of plum tea, a melona, and a large dose of overhead surround sound Gangnum Style (I’m not kidding, we really did start dancing in our chairs). If you’ve never had a melona before, please do yourself a favour and try one. Light, milky, cantaloupe-y goodness. Plum tea… tasted like grape juice… but slightly plummier.
Overall, Bulgoli Brothers is a restaurant of mild flavours and delicate portions. The quality of the food is good and they don’t shy away from sharing less conventional flavours (that work). However, I think the main factor that sets Bulgolgi Brothers apart from most local fare is their focus on the service and experience. All the waiters here are well-acquainted with the food and clearly guide you on how to pair the right foods with the right sauces. They cook the food (just right, I might add)… and our waiter even offered to cut my noodles for me because they were too long. Lazy man heaven.
Oh, did I mention they have great ventilation? I think that’s pretty important for any table top cooking restaurant.
Would I recommend this place? Yes, absolutely. While the final cost of the meal was about $20 per person and was not all you can eat, I felt that the quality of the service and the food justified the price. For me, it’s quality over quantity. This may not be an every day place, but if you love Korean food, try this place. You might learn something new!
The Damage: $78 after tax