Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Little Secret

Sura Korean Restaurant
2320 4 St NW
Located in the north west community of Mount Pleasant, Sura is a quiet little restaurant serving up quality Korean dishes. Mount Pleasant is not exactly known for their partying culture. There's a pub across the street but the streets ain't hoppin' on a Saturday night. We arrived half pass noon to find 2 occupied table and no staff in sight. A few minutes go by before someone emerged from the kitchen to seat us. They then promptly returned to the kitchen to prepare the meals of the other diners. I got up to grab a menu. Service was severely lacking. A few minutes later, a frazzled woman burst through the doors. It was the waitress, I guess she was late or something. She quickly gathered herself to take our order and answered my millions of questions and giving us great advice like "You don't want that one. This is more authentic," and "The portions are pretty big so it should be enough but you can always take it home right?"
Upon placing our order, a million (slight exaggeration) banchan (side dishes) were brought out for us to nibble on. I will now attempt to give you the low down on each one.
Alright, starting with what I know -
Kimchi - A traditional fermented Korean dish. Usually consist of cabbage and pretty much used in everything. Soup, stew, rice, the whole shabang. I'm not a super huge fan on kimchi (And yet I'm eating at a Korean restaurant. It's crazy! Right?), but I had some anyway. It was okay. Not too spicy.

Going in a clockwise direction, we have Gaeran Mari (I'm not totally sure of these names, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in the comments below). A rolled omelette with green onion and ham grilled to a golden brown colour and cut into the half inch wide wedges. Super tasty. It's a shame there was only two of these.

Next up, we have Kongnamul which is soybean sprouts. And some seasoning. Annnnnd that's it. Simple but delicious. Not spicy. Thumbs up to that.

Continuing on, we have the marinated fish cake. I have no idea what this is called. In fact, I didn't even know what it was until I asked our knowledgable waitress. I'm glad I did because I probably would have described it as "some marinated strips of stuff with green onion sprinkled on top" (Mad street cred would have been lost! Probably go into the negative). It didn't taste like chicken that's for sure. The fish cake was quite soft and squishy. Very flavourful.
On a side note, does anyone know what fish cake is made out of? It's probably something along the lines of 2% fish, 8% fish parts and 90% other stuff. Did I mention it was tasty? Because it was extremely tasty. Not to discourage anyone with all that talk of fish parts or anything. Just sayin'.
Next up, we have the sigumchi namul which is seasoned spinach. Nothing too fancy about this dish.
Mu namul is julienned daikon or white radish in a sweet vinegar sauce. It is then seasoned with some cucumbers and black sesame seeds. The daikon was really crispy. A little vinegary but pretty tasty.

Oh man... I can't believe I'm only on side dish number 6. I feel like I've been typing for an eternity. Alright, number 7. Myulchi Bokkeum. This little dish consisted of dried anchovy seasoned to perfection with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Super crispy. Very flavourful. Probably one of my favourites out of the gazillion side dishes we got.

And to round out the side dishes, we have this bean type dish (More street cred lost). I'm not too sure what type of bean this is. Despite being fairly hard, it was pretty decent. The sauce was very flavourful.

So there you have it! All the side dishes we got to try. It's almost like a full meal right there. By the time I was done taking picture of all the banchan, the main dishes began to arrive. Here is a shot of everything with our seaweed soup. The soup was pretty amazing. Very light, refreshing. The wakame didn't have the nasty taste of the sea to it. There was two token mussels for additional flavouring for the soup. It is interesting to note that the soup came out in a very shallow bowl. It was really difficult to scoop up every last drop of this delicious soup.

The first official entree to arrive was the seafood pa jeon. Pa jeon is a Korean style pancake made from an egg, flour and green onion batter. Our pa jeon had giant chunks of seafood (Shrimp and squid? Or maybe octopus). Grilled to perfection, the aroma of green onions filled the air when it was brought out. Super crispy with a spicy dip for that extra kick. Sooooo delicious. And massive too, about the same size as a medium pizza. 

This was followed quickly by the dolsot bibimbap. This put the wannabe bibimbap I had at Cafe HK to shame. The rice was sizzling in the intense heat of the stone bowl. The rice is topped with zucchinis, carrots, mushrooms, soybean sprouts, spinach, marinated beef and onions placed in equal "quadrants" (Yes I'm aware there are 7 things) with a sunny side up egg in the middle. Depending on how crispy you want your rice, you can either eat it right away for a softer texture or wait till it gets super crispy. I mixed a little bit of everything together along with a small dab of hot sauce. Soooo amazing! The light flavours of all the toppings complimented each other really well. The rice was crispy on the outside and soft inside.
There's also a complimentary soup which I did not get a picture of (The seaweed soup was better). There was so much food but we were still managed to finish most of it. Only half a pa jeon left by the time we were finished which we got packed up (Those who know me will know this is a big deal as I hardly get leftovers packed up, but it was amazing!). Our waitress was impressed. But not impressed enough to offer us a free meal unfortunately. Not that it was super expensive anyway. In fact, I thought it was a pretty amazing deal. We normally spent almost twice that for lunch. Wicked deal!
The scores:
Service - 6 out of 10. Service was pretty slow initially. For the longest time there was only the lone chef in the back cooking and bringing the food out. 
Atmosphere - 9 out of 10. Lots of room. Very spacious. Unlike Seoul Korean BBQ. 
Food - 10 out of 10. AMAZING!
Cost - 9 out of 10. Only $37 + Tip. I had to double check my bill just to make sure I didn't read it wrong.
Overall - 8 out of 10. Don't be telling everyone. This is our little secret. 

Sura Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Update: We went again this week for dinner and it was just as amazing! Check out these sweet pics!

First up with have the beef hot pot.

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) Trio- A combo of beef ribs, chicken and pork.

Ginseng Chicken.

1 comment:

  1. umm...where was my invite to this?! rude! i totally would've gone here again!!!

    it's funny cuz i was in the process of calling this place up to make a reservation when i came across ur link & now here i am writing u my 2 cents.
    we're heading down there this week. i'd invite u but...well, u know...

    anyways...my dining experience at this particular establishment was satisfying.
    food was good - don't recall all we had ordered but one of 'em was the Beef Bulgogi...& the Spicy Squid, which lived up to its spiceness (was a lil too spicy for my liking though).
    the beef was money & the fact that my drink was on the house to make amends for when they dropped one of my meat as they served it made it that much better! although i would've traded in my free drink for that extra piece of meat - it was that good!

    so, overall i agree /w ur sentiments - food good, meat-drop bad.
    place highly recommended.

    i is,

    ps - Lezah will now be stoked about going to this place since u've written a review on it, a good one at that - she's not too keen on Korean...food that is.