Thursday, December 26, 2013

Potter's Garden Korean BBQ 香辣里


Potter's Garden is located on Kingsway Street in Burnaby, and is 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 for our order, asked if we could move to a larger table. But, the waiter looked at us like it was a silly request and said no. After being rejected and looking around, I found it odd that a few tables of two with only an order of one hot pot, had a larger table than us!


After we finished ordering, the waiter constantly suggested for us to pass on table top barbecue, in hopes of saving some table space which I found even more odd. Regardless, table top barbecue or not, the amount of food we ordered would not fit at any coffee sized table. So, fortunately after insisting numerous times that we wanted to cook our own meats, he finally moved us to a regular sized table! As for the restaurant, it 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 along with hot pot. As for the service, there was only one waiter on the floor and despite his slow service, he tried to be somewhat as efficient as he could (after 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. Following, the sweet potatoes are a generous portion, tastes soft as well as sweet, and is one of the better 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. As for the lettuce, ssamjang and jalapeños, they are for the pork belly later on. However, 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. In addition, for an extra $4.00, we chose the option to have kimchi added which I found a bit odd, charging for kimchi powder. As for the taste, there is a mild pork broth flavour which could have been more flavoursome. Furthermore, there is only an extremely mild hint of spiciness which is very hard to pick up. I thought it was supposed to be spicy?

The hot pot tastes average and is nothing special… but, there is an odd unpleasant sour taste. 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. Well, 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 $4.00 is slightly pricey 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 galbi, the ribs taste tender and have a slightly sweet marinade flavour. The beef ribs are pretty tasty and the marinade does not taste too sweet or overwhelming. As for the samgyeopsal, 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 the meat still tasted dry and hard. Since it is both our first time trying meat smeared with soybean paste, I wonder if it is the soybean paste that makes it taste stiff, or perhaps the not so good quality of meat? As for the sides, 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).
Although the soup tastes very light, there is only a hint of a chicken broth flavour (after adjusting the sodium level). As for the herbal ingredients, the ginseng roots taste hard a well as dry, and the dates are still wrinkly and dry. None of the herbal ingredients have been cooked long enough.

As for the chicken, it is stuffed with sweet rice as well as garlic, and cut into quarters. But unfortunately, the chicken tastes dry as well as tough, as if the soup was rushed and cooked on a high fast boil. If anything, Potter's Garden serves the worst samgeyang compared to Kyung Bok Palace and Sura.


COMPLIMENTARY CANDY.
POSITIVES
- Tasty beef ribs
- Push bell service that works
- Open late night

NEGATIVES
- Food is meh, barely average
- There are a lot better Korean restaurants

LITTLE THINGS
- Medium or large size hot pot is available
- BBQ combos are available but the value is not as good compared to Insadong's
- Jang Mo Jib serves a lot better food (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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