Monday, June 9, 2014

Cho Sun B.B.Q. Korean Restaurant

BF has been interested in trying out Cho Sun BBQ for months. Months. As for myself, I heard through Instagram that the food is average at best and typical me, hesitant towards wasting money on mediocre food (hey! Korean food is pricey…), never wanted to visit. However, since I was responsible for four below average to mediocre restaurants in a row, I caved and we finally came here for dinner (which actually ended our streak of bad luck restaurants!).

Cho Sun is a Korean barbecue restaurant located on Kingsway Street in Vancouver, and offers Japanese food as well. In addition, the restaurant is open late until 2:00am. As for the seating arrangements, there are divider walls everywhere and unlike some Korean restaurants, there is no push bell service! I never thought much of push buttons before, asides from worrying about annoying the staff… but, Cho Sun desperately needs one. The restaurant was only half full but because of the layout, it is impossible to get a waiting staffs' attention unless they happened to be walking by.

Starting with the pickled daikon, the taste is very light and could have been more vinegary. Next, the kimchi actually tastes spicy and quite tasty. Continuing along, the seaweed as well as the bean sprouts have a light sesame oil taste, and the sweet potatoes are pretty good. The potatoes are served in a sweet thickened syrup (which may be too sweet for some) and tastes soft. And last, appears to be a spicy salad which we did not try.

The galbi cut ribs are a must order at any Korean restaurant. Why? Because it is the best cut and much tastier than LA short ribs (which are always available at an AYCE Japanese restaurant). As we were taking a look at the menu, we noticed the restaurant offers both marinated galbi as well as regular. And somehow thinking back to Potter's Garden when their marinated pork belly was not so great (and actually ruined the meat), we decided to stick with the plain galbi.

The ribs are well marbled and as a result tastes tender, juicy, fatty and have that natural beefy flavour. However, despite the quality ribs, we do prefer the sweet Korean marinade over the natural beefy taste. Since we were too hungry when we ordered and forgot that every Korean restaurant we have been to serves marinated ribs, we went with the plain. Whoops. The marinated galbi is $3.00 cheaper too!

Most Koreans enjoy spicy food right? And gamjatang is a popular dish? Which is also usually served spicy? Well, despite requesting for an "extra spicy" level of spiciness and the hot chilli symbol on the menu beside the pork bone soup, there is no hint of spiciness! In addition, the broth does not even have the slightest hint of a red color too. Weird how this is not the first time that spicy does not mean spicy at a Korean restaurant...

After requesting for some gochujang (red pepper paste), the gamjatang tasted slightly better and more flavourful. However, overall, the soup base tastes weak and there is not much of a pork broth taste. Or a spiciness. If anything, there is a good amount of pork bones and Cho Sun offers a medium or large size hot pot.

Jokbal is served with jalapeño, garlic, saeujeot (shrimp brine) as well as ssamjang (spicy bean paste), and can be munched on as-is or wrapped with lettuce. Personally I prefer as-is if the jokbal tastes really good but BF always likes his wrapped with lettuce, which costs $3.00 at Cho Sun.

The pork tastes dry as well as slightly chewy, and the stock could have been more flavourful. In addition, despite having a hint of soy sauce, a stronger taste of rice wine along with a sweetness could have been more flavourful. To compare with Cheers Chicken and Noodle and Chom Chom Fusion's, those restaurants make better pork hock.

TOTAL: $83.80 + TIP $14.20 = $98.00.

Cho Sun serves average eats and offers a large variety of items including seafood (not live of course) as well as sushi. If anything, I consider some of the prices higher than other Korean restaurants but the quality of the galbi is there. Furthermore, the restaurant offers ribeye steak too which I do not see often at Korean restaurants! Perhaps we will come back in the future, as in years from now for a late night dinner to try out the rib eye. In the end, I still prefer Toe Dam Korean a lot more, taste and value wise.

As for the service, it is very hard to get due to the layout of the restaurant and many people seemed to be standing up and waving constantly. However for the service we got, the staff was friendly. Actually out of all the Korean restaurants we have been to, this was the first time when a waitstaff asked if we wanted to finish the ribs before starting on the gamjatang.

- Open late night
- Friendly staff
- Quality meats (for the pricier orders)

- Gamjatang (2/5)
- Service is hard to get
- Pricer than some Korean restaurants
- Not sure why the ventilation was not on

- $3.00 lettuce :(
- No minimum order for table top BBQ
- Would rather revisit here than Potter's Garden

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Cho Sun B.B.Q. Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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