Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Authentic Korean Dishes, but Service Needs Translation; Food Is Cooked to Order, Sometimes at Tableside

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Authentic Korean Dishes, but Service Needs Translation; Food Is Cooked to Order, Sometimes at Tableside

Article excerpt

Byline: Nancy White

Plucky little Hon Korean recently resumed lunch service, so we thought we'd go in and try it out for you.

When you enter the restaurant in a strip mall off Beach Boulevard, you're treated to an odd display of rural Korean art and artifacts. The dcor in the dining room leaves a great deal to be desired. Flourescent glow is kept fairly dim, even at lunch.

There are about 15 tables, four with gas grills for cooking tableside. Apparently, there is a minimum of four people and two orders required for the grill tables, but at lunch we were happy to have the kitchen staff prepare our food for us anyway. It wasn't crowded on our visits.

Our server spoke little English, so it was hard to get questions answered. He did his best to help us navigate the menu, and we bravely soldiered on. It should be said, plan for a leisurely lunch - Chef Hyon Ok Stewart cooks all the food to order.

We started with a soup, jjigae (price varies), this one with a miso base, clams, scallions and tofu that looked intriguing as it roiled away in its stone pot. The flavors were balanced salty, sour and spicy, medium heat.

Korean Fried Chicken Wings ($9.95) were deep-fried and coated in a sticky-sweet-hot sauce, dusted with chopped peanuts. They were assertively hot, but not scorching.

Bibimbap ($8.95 at lunch) had great favor when mixed together with the runny fried egg, but it was served in a regular bowl, not a hot pot, so it lacked the crispy rice that we liked in previous versions we've sampled.

Order Dolsot Bibimbap for that version, we later discovered.

Lost in translation with our server was the fact that there was no meat in the version we ordered. I was left to wonder if I had inadvertently staved off the meat while attempting to communicate with our server, but no matter; the rice, kimchi, cucumbers and pepper paste all blended together with that egg in a stick-to-your-ribs satisfying dish. …

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