Thursday, December 26, 2013

Potter's Garden Korean BBQ 香辣里

Potter's Garden is located on Kingsway Street in Burnaby and close to another Korean restaurant, Jang Mo Jib. Walking in on a Thursday evening, the restaurant was a quarter full and we were seated at a small coffee size table. Doing the usual if I think the table is a bit too small, I asked if we could move to a larger table but the waiter looked at us like it was a silly request and said no. Looking around, I found it odd for a table of two that only ordered one hot pot had a larger table than us. After ordering, the waiter tried getting us not to choose table top BBQ in hopes of saving some table space. I found that more odd because regardless if we ordered table top BBQ, the amount of food we ordered would not fit any coffee sized table. After saying we wanted table top BBQ, he moved us to a regular sized table. The restaurant stayed a quarter full for the rest of the evening. 

Potter's Garden has two sides, one for larger parties and the other for groups of less than four. The restaurant is fairly spacious, has comfortable seating arrangements and a very strong aroma of BBQ meat and hot pot. There was only one waiter on the floor and despite his slow service, he tried to be somewhat as efficient as he could (when a few tables complained to him).


BANCHAN, KOREAN SIDE DISHES. LETTUCE, KIMCHI, STEAMED RICE, SWEET POTATOES, WAKAME, KOREAN MUNG BEAN SPROUTS, SALT/PEPPER, SESAME OIL, SSAMJANG AND JALAPENO. To start, the kimchi tastes pretty flavourful and spicy. For the sweet potatoes, a generous portion is served and the potatoes tastes soft as well as sweet - one of the better tasting ones I have had. Continuing to the wakame, the seaweed has a strong sesame oil taste. And last, the bean sprouts have a very faint hint of sesame oil. The lettuce, ssamjang and jalapeños are for the pork belly later on, but some garlic would have been nice too.

MUKUNJI GAMJATANG, KOREAN TRADITIONAL PORK BACK AND NECK BONE WITH KIMCHI, GREEN ONION, VEGETABLE, AND POTATO HOT POT ($29.95). After trying the gamjatang at Jeong Ga Nae, I did not want a bland tasting hot pot and confirmed if this was spicy. When the waiter confirmed "of course", I was quite pleased. For an extra $4.00 we chose the option to have kimchi added which I found a bit odd, charging for kimchi powder. The broth has a pork broth taste, could have tasted more flavourful and unfortunately has no hint of spiciness (?!?!?!). The hot pot tastes average and is nothing special… but there is an odd unpleasant taste of sourness. As it turns out, the additional charge for kimchi was for kimchi vegetables! I was a bit surprised because I assume most people know that cooked kimchi has a sour taste.. and I do not know of anyone who eats gamjatang sour. For those who do, the amount of kimchi added in the hot pot is significantly less than the amount we received as the banchan, so it is slightly pricy for adding kimchi.

WANG GALBI, MARINATED PRIME BEEF RIB ($27.95) AND YANGNYEOM SAMGYEOPSAL, SEASONED SOYBEAN PASTE PORK LOIN ($17.95). The requirement for table top BBQ has a minimum of two orders (same or different items). Starting with the beef ribs, the ribs taste tender and has a slightly sweet flavourful marinade taste. The beef ribs are pretty tasty. For the pork loin, the pork has a soybean paste taste and tastes stiff as well as chewy. After blaming BF for overcooking the pork, I tried cooking the pieces myself and they still tasted dry and hard. Since it is both our first time trying pork loin smeared with soybean paste, I wonder if it is the soybean paste that makes it taste stiff, or possibly the not so good quality of meat? The BBQ meats come with one third of an onion and one white mushroom sliced.

SAMGYETANG, CHICKEN STEW STUFFED WITH SWEET RICE, DATES AND GINSENG ($17.95). The soup has a light but barely there chicken broth taste (after adjusting the sodium level) and the chicken tastes quite dry as well as tough,  as if the soup was rushed and cooked on a high fast boil. The chicken is cut into quarters and stuffed with sweet rice and garlic. The ginseng roots tastes hard and crunchy, and the dates were still dry, none of the herbal ingredients were cooked long enough. The only two other Korean restaurants I have tried samgyetang are Kyung Bok Palace and Sura, Potter's Garden has the most unappealing samgyetang.

- Tasty beef ribs
- Medium or large size hot pot is available
- Push bell service works
- Open late night

- Food is meh
- There are a lot better Korean restaurants

- BBQ combos are available but the value is not as good compared to Insadong's
- Jang Mo Jib dishes taste a lot better (although the staff is not friendly)
- Even Kyong Bok Palace's pork belly tastes better… and the restaurant is an all you can eat with not so good food

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Potter's Garden Korean BBQ 香辣里 on Urbanspoon

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