Showing posts with label seafood pancake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seafood pancake. Show all posts

Song Cook's Authentic Korean Restaurant (Thornhill)

Song Cook serves up authentic Korean cuisine and a lot of it (good luck narrowing down your order from their extensive spiral bound menu). The restaurant has an equally large dining room that’s separated into areas with regular tables or tatami sitting, if you’re in for a truly authentic experience. As a warning, the tatami tables are the real deal: there’s no hidden cut out holes so your legs can dangle, therefore a meal could really be an endurance for your core and flexibility.

Luckily, service at Song Cook is speedy, so unless you want to stay for hours, food arrives quickly after placing your order. The menu lists dishes by category (noodles, saam, rice dishes, etc.), but pay attention to the prices as some are large platters best shared amongst groups of five or more. 

Take the haemul pajun ($27.99), the seafood and green onion pancake could be mistaken for a medium pan pizza. Its sheer size allows for large chunks of octopus, shrimp, and green onion to be incorporated into the batter, which is really like an omelette with glutinous flour added for a bit of chewiness. By itself the pancake can be a bit bland, but a dip into the sweet soy sauce makes it delicious.

Another platter that feeds a crowd is the jap chae ($26.99), the warm chewy glass noodles tossed in a fragrant sesame oil soy sauce with beef and vegetables. It’s a decent version of the dish but surprisingly expensive for what you ultimately receive.  

The last of huge shared plates we tried included:
  • Tang suk yuk ($24.99), a sweet and sour chicken whose sauce, although not the vibrant red variety found in Chinese restaurants, is still flavourful. However, there’s just way too much breading on the chicken itself … really the speck of meat in the middle could be anything.

  • On the other hand, the spicy don ka su ($16.99) didn’t skimp on the meat, with the cast-iron skillet holding two long large pork cutlets. The dish is best eaten right out of the fryer, when the breading hasn’t gotten soggy from the thick spicy sauce the cutlets are smothered in. Overall, the don ka su could have been delicious (I loved the kick from the sauce), but the breading had a stale aftertaste and needed more seasoning.

As a warning, their grilled ssam dishes don’t actually include the lettuce wraps (for this you’ll need to add $5). The sam kyup sal consisted of three slices of relatively thick pork belly ($12.99). It lacked any flavour on its own, so really required the sweet bean paste and garlic oil that’s included on the side. Without the actual lettuce and herb garnishes the dish is pretty plain. The LA kalbi ($21.99) was better given the short ribs are marinated in a sweet garlic sauce, so is still tasty on its own. Like the jap chae, the kalbi was good, but not outstanding to warrant the much higher price compared to other Korean restaurants.

Not everything at Song Cooks is overpriced; most of their noodle and rice dishes are competitively sized and priced. I loved the chewy doughy noodles used in the ja jang myun ($8.99), but would have liked a bit more salt in the thick black bean sauce and the dish served hotter.

Their del sot bibimbap ($11.99) is fantastic with plenty of toppings and the most wonderful crispy golden crust develops where the sticky rice meets the hot stone bowl. The red bean sauce it arrives with seems spicier, so use less to begin with as you can always add more.

The ddukbokki ($8.99) is stir fried in a similar spicy sauce and intensely flavoured. It’s such a simple but satisfying dish – the logs of chewy rice cakes is addicting. To make it even more filling, we added ramen noodles ($1.00), which is great for ensuring every ounce of the spicy sauce is soaked up.

Perhaps what I like most about Song Cooks is the atmosphere … the restaurant is such a great laid-back anything-goes environment. While some establishments may give dirty looks to large rowdy tables, the staff at Song Cook join in the celebration, even demonstrating and introducing us to new drinking games. It’s that friendly attitude that makes me want to return for another order of bibimbap to wash down the 'Hulk Smash'. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Thornhill, Canada
 Address: 72 Steeles Avenue West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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Song Cook's Authentic Korean Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Izakaya Tsuki

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 5182 Yonge Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

Walking into Tsuki, their dim lighting and ample group seating sure feels like an izakaya. But, after sitting down and tuning into the strange mix of music playing in the background (some top 40, folk and country) you can tell already it will be a bit different. Tsuki attracts groups of friends ready to have a great time. With pitchers of Sapporo for $16.99 and bottles of soju for $13.99, drinking is certainly affordable and makes the night more interesting. 

The buttered squid ($8) is a dish I’d recommend ordering. Not only is it delicious, but also such a great deal! An entire squid is grilled and basted with butter. The result is a smoky and tender squid with plenty of pieces to share amongst a group.

As a warning, come with a large group if you're going to order the seafood pancake ($12) - its huge and enough to feed ten. Cut into thick wedges, each has big pieces of green onion, beans and calamari mixed throughout. Personally, I’d like the pancake thinner so there's the chance to develop more crust and the middle wouldn’t be as mushy. Also, a varied selection of seafood such as shrimp and clams would be even better as I found in most dishes we ordered squid was prevalent. And finally, the batter needed more salt; when you ate it without dousing the pancake with the spicy soy sauce on the side it was rather plain.

The cheese buldak ($16) was essentially strips of spicy chicken covered with cheese on a bed of vegetables (onion, cabbage and bean sprouts). The gooey melted cheese over everything gave the dish a sense of eating a protein rich poutine. The thin chicken strips did tend to get a bit dry if they weren’t eaten quickly but generally wasn’t a bad dish.

My friends, who have been numerous times, swears by the spicy snail ($15). It’s served cold and the snails cut into smaller pieces and mixed with sweet and spicy douchouchang sauce and lettuce. If you’re squeamish about trying snails, this is the dish for you as its all covered and hard to see. On the side, were cold vermicelli noodles that were sadly overcooked so it became mushy and stuck in clumps. All in all, I enjoyed the flavours and the refreshing nature of it.

Tsuki’s tako yaki ($7) were disappointing. Indeed, it had enough sauces and bonito flakes on it to give them flavour, but the batter was so mushy that it resembled eating a glutinous rice ball more than the crisp fluffy tako yaki you’d expect.

There was a hefty portion of tempura ($9) with plenty of shrimp and vegetables (asparagus, sweet potato and pumpkin). Each piece was crispy and the light sweet green onion soy sauce on the side was a nice change.

Maybe it was due to when I received the dish, but found the pork kimchi durachigi ($14) needed more meat – there was simply so much kimchi! Served in a sizzling pan everything stayed piping hot and released an extra level of spiciness to the cabbage. Personally, it wasn’t my favourite as found it was mostly just hot kimchi.

The maguro tataki ($14) is another passable dish. Although nicely presented it lacked the bold citrusy flavours from being lightly marinated in an onion sauce I normally enjoy. 

Tsuki’s menu is not all about hot dishes, they also have a variety of sushi rolls. All the ones we ordered were made with a vibrant black rice (actually purple in colour), and similar to what accompanies the soon tofu at Buk ChangDong Soon Tofu. The dynamite roll ($9) was decent with the classic tempura shrimp, creamy avocado and crunchy cucumbers. In Tsuki’s case it is drizzled with a sweet terryiaki glaze.

The spicy salmon roll ($6) had tons of the spicy mayonnaise on it; not the most esthetically pleasing to look at, but provided a great kick of flavour. There were no tempura battered bits with it at all, but rather a simple large piece of salmon which I enjoyed.

A great idea for some fun is the Russian roulette roll ($7). The maki itself is just salmon and avocado topped with a tangy mayo sauce. The novelty is that one piece (out of six) has tons of wasabi mixed into it. So, tables are encouraged to have everyone grab a piece and bite into it together – it’s quite entertaining to see the look on the unlucky person’s face (needless to say it wasn’t me!)

All in all, Tsuki offers great service and decent food at very reasonable prices. They are a popular restaurant in the neighbourhood with every table occupied during our weekend visit. The staff are amazingly friendly. Our waiter David was so helpful throughout the night – he even went around to find us extra soju bottle caps for drinking games (who would have known a simple cap could offer so much entertainment)! 

My suggestion is to come in larger groups (six would be ideal) as there are tons of dishes to try and more than enough of each to pass along. Plus, it’s the type of place you can get loud and rowdy and other patrons just don’t seem to mind.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!