Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nor Boo Korean

With no shortage of Korean restaurants in Downtown Vancouver, how do you decide which one to visit? By word of mouth? Choosing a restaurant based on the decor or menu? I have never heard much about Nor Boo and looking at the exterior, the restaurant does not scream out "must visit" to me. But at the same time, I thought perhaps Nor Boo might be an underrated homestyle restaurant. My friend and I  were craving for some soup for lunch too!

The interior is outdated and there is not much to look at, except for a television tuned to a Korean channel. There are booth seating arrangements along one side of the wall and plenty of large tables throughout the restaurant. The seating arrangements are properly maximized and the interior is not too cramped as well.

The selection of banchan includes bean sprouts, potatoes and kimchi. The bean sprouts do not taste very fresh and consist of a generic sesame oil mix. As for the potatoes, the pieces are soft but do not taste very sweet compared to other restaurants. Last up, the kimchi has a mild pickled stinky flavour (not in a bad way) along with a hint of spiciness.

Rating: 2.5/5.
The Gamjatang arrived with a slick of oil on top which is fine, but the oil does not provide any extra flavour (I thought the soup would taste spicier than it was because of the oil). The perilla seeds on the other hand are roasted, providing a nice crunch, aroma and extra flavour. The broth also has a mild to medium spiciness that builds up slowly and there is no last minute addition of a spicy paste, which happens more often than not when restaurants decide to short cut it.

But the soup lacks a pork broth flavour overall and is heavily spiced rather than slow cooked with bones. I would have given the Gamjatang a higher rating if the flavour from the pork was stronger. Asides from the broth, the soup includes a couple pieces of tender tasting pork and bits of soft potato.

Rating: 2.5/5.
I had a craving for Samgyetang and was very happy when the waitress mentioned that there were three servings left for lunch. The soup has a mild chicken broth, but tastes very salty. There is a mild hint of ginseng though, but even Kyong Bok Palace's Samgyetang tastes better. Nor Boo's does not include red dates too :(.

As for the chicken, the meat tastes tender and definitely slow cooked. But the sticky rice tastes very stiff, dry and compressed. The mixture of sticky rice also includes a small piece of ginseng root, chestnut and garlic.

DOLSOT GALBI, "Beef short ribs with house special sauce and vegetables" ($15.99).
Rating: 1/5.
The photo on the menu showed beef short ribs with a bed of noodles underneath, rather than a stew like what we got… We were also told that if we wanted tender beef ribs, it would be the Dolsot Galbi instead of the L.A ribs.

But unfortunately, the beef does not taste slow cooked one bit and the meat is very stringy along with dry. Moreover, the broth is sickening sweet. There is a very syrupy sweet flavour with a last minute addition of a spicy paste.

TOTAL: $43.55 + TIP $6.45 = $50.00.

I wanted to think that Nor Boo is a homey Korean restaurant that serves above average food, but the dishes we ordered are underwhelming. The Gamjatang could have been above average too if the pork broth tasted stronger. With regards to the Dolsot Galbi, I highly do not recommend the dish.

- Open late night
- Prices are average

- Poor Dolsot Galbi
- Food is very average and not the kind of average to revisit for
- There are better Korean restaurants in the area

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

1536 Robson Street Vancouver, BC V6G 1C2
Telephone (604) 806-0369
Nor Boo Korean on Urbanspoon

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