Before going to see the last installment of The Hobbit trilogy with Jodi, her cousin Jessica with her husband Michael and their boys Alex and Brian, and our friends Andrew and Miguel, we had a request for bibimbap. As the movie theater was in Times Square, Koreatown was the best destination. I searched for the best places for bibimbap there and found Seoul Garden, a fairly big restaurant located on the second story of a building.
When we arrived, the place was empty, but it took only thirty minutes to get it packed, definitely affecting the service.
At first, we got the traditional banchan, these side dishes I am always looking forward to eat.
Kimchi (quite standard and my favorite):
Apple salad (perfect to attenuate any fire caused by the spices):
Black beans (great texture and taste):
Then, we ordered some delicious mandoo or pork dumplings that were perfect: the shell was thin and deliciously fried on one side, giving a nice crunch to it.
There was no surprise there, compared to the kimchi pancake that was delicious and, contrary to what I thought, did not have any heat.
Then, they brought us, complimentary, an egg dish that came very hot that looked like a thick fluffy omelet or a custard and tasted like a soufflé.
The second complimentary dish was a miso soup.
For the bibimbap, Jodi ordered the tofu one.
I ordered the galbi bibimbap that is with pieces of marinated ribeye.
We both added an egg, but we wanted a raw egg so it could cook in the pipping hot dish. The waiter resisted a bit at the beginning, but finally agreed, mentioning that there would be a $2 charge for each egg. When the dishes came, the eggs were there, but fried instead of raw and a bit overcooked for my taste...
I thought that the bibimbap was a bit bland, even after adding some soy sauce and there was not that much meat in it, adding to my disappointment. This was definitely a miss for me and I did not even finish my dish. I think the only thing I liked was the crust that formed after leaving the rice cook in the hot pot.
So, although I enjoyed the appetizers and banchan, the bibimbap was a bummer and Don's Bogam is a better choice for that dish as far as I am concerned. Would I go back? Maybe, but not for Bibimbap!
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