Monday, November 18, 2013

Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ

REVISIT POST ON TOE DAM KOREAN FUSION BBQ [HERE]

"Hey, I'm going to do laundry in a bit, wanna go for Korean BBQ right now?". North Road in Burquitlam is known as Korea town, the location of many Korean cuisine restaurants. So, having trouble picking which Korean restaurant to visit, we chose Toe Dam because of their advertised table top BBQ outside the restaurant.

Coming on a Saturday around 5:30pm, we were second in line with five other people following shortly. The restaurant's interior is long and narrow with private rooms along one side, and booth seatings on the other. The restaurant is a bit small with only five private rooms for six to eight people, and five to seven booths. 

BANCHAN, KOREAN SIDE DISHES. 
LETTUCE, KOREAN MUNG BEAN SPROUTS, KIMCHI, WAKAME, AND SWEET POTATOES. 
I was sooo hungry and kept regretting not grabbing a burger at McDonalds before coming here. We waited twenty minutes for the side dishes and they came with the BBQ meat. First up, the cold boiled bean sprouts taste fresh with a generous amount of sesame oil. Second, the kimchi tastes slightly spicy but could have tasted spicier. Third, the wakame has a sweet vinegar and slightly sour flavour along with sliced onion, carrot, jalapeño, and a wee bit of sesame seeds. Last up, the sweet potatoes taste soft (I cannot remember the last Korean restaurant I visited that did not serve barely cooked potatoes!) and have a sesame oil as well as a slightly sweet flavour.

MARINATED AAA BEEF SHORT RIBS ($28.95) AND FRESH PORK BELLY WITH SPECIAL DIPPING SAUCE ($17.95). 
For table BBQ there is a minimum requirement of two orders but unlike Jong Ga, the items can be different! The order of galbi comes with a couple of strips (like most Korean restaurants) and the order of fresh pork belly consist of twelve thick pieces. Furthermore, the BBQ meats come with two white mushrooms and one thick slice of onion.

GAMJATANG, PORK ON THE BONE AND POTATOES, SPICY HOT POT STEW ($28.95).
Err... this is the part that got a bit confusing. The menu also stated that there is a minimum requirement of two orders for hot pot. So, I tried using the "us two girls already have two orders of BBQ meat, is there an exception for the hot pot?" and the waitress said no. What the...? Really? It is hot pot! Why do you need two orders? After asking again because how can we eat so much, the waitress said it is fine and that we met the requirements. We were confused but hey, we only had to order one! The gamjatang has a rich pork broth along with a medium spicy kimchi flavour. The broth is thicker than most Korean restaurants I have visited (Jang Mo JibJong GaHanok) and tastes more rich. Furthermore, the stew has tender tasting pork meat, soft potatoes, and onions, green onions, as well as cabbage.

The pork belly has a nice snappy texture along with a fatty taste. When dipped in the sesame oil sauce, the pork belly tasted more flavourful and fattier. As for ssamjang, the pork belly tastes less fattier when used. The ssamjang has a salty peppery paste flavour along with a hint of fishiness and minced garlic, which is perfectly paired with meat in a lettuce wrap.

As for the galbi ribs, the meat tastes tender and delicious along with a flavourful marinade. In general, I find that most Korean marinades are flavourful and the galbi cuts are always tender (with the only exception of Hanok as theirs tasted dry).

RICE (INCLUDED IN BBQ AND HOT POT ORDERS). 
MISO SOUP (INCLUDED IN THE PORK BELLY ORDER). 
The soup is served half full with a bubbling boil and some of the ingredients include diced tofu, zucchini as well as onion onion. The broth has a strong dry squid flavour along with a miso taste. However, the soup tasted quite salty and we did not like it much.

KIMCHI FRIED RICE ($4.95). 
The kimchi fried rice tastes like kimchi and is topped with shredded seaweed, green onion and sesame seed. The rice tastes very moist and slightly cheesy because of the starchier kind of rice. But, the both of us thought the rice tasted unpleasant and could not finish more than one bite. For those who are a fan of cheesy dishes along with kimchi, may enjoy this variation.

Usually most Korean restaurants rush to change the grill, except Toe Dam.
POSITIVES
- Above average eats
- Comfortable spacious tables (hehe no small tables available!)
- One of the better Korean restaurants

NEGATIVES
- Every time we used the push button, a waitress would check every table and ask if it was them,  except for us
- Kimchi fried rice (1/5)

LITTLE THINGS
- Revisit post on Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ [here]
- Every staff member will speak Korean until you tell them you cannot understand lol
- Insadong's combo for two to three people is a better value (but the quality is better here)
- Minimum two order requirement for table BBQ but the dishes can be different (unlike Jong Ga)

Food: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5

Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ on Urbanspoon

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