By Liza Zawadzka
Before bi bim bap became as ubiquitous as sushi and samosas, Korean Village Restaurant was a pioneer on the Bloor Street Korean outpost.
The decor gives some sense of the longevity of the place. Although the thousands of dried roses, presented to the hostess by devoted celebrities such Jackie Chan and the Toronto Blue Jays, are casualties of the fire code, the white piano and ’70s, decor is still intact. Those who wish to cuddle in the private rooms need not fear being overlooked by the waitress, as push button bells are available to call her to your table.
The extensive menu, consisting of Japanese and Korean cuisine, is a little pricier than other restaurants in Korea Town, but worth it. Every entree starts with five bowls of ban chan – spicy cabbage kimchi, perfectly steamed broccoli, crunchy sesame bean sprouts and other unidentifiable, but equally delish appetizers.
At $20 per person (minimum two person order) seafood steamboat (hotpot), is self-grilled at the table, and fresh lettuce arrives to wrap up the fresh clams, prawns and calamari.
The prawn tempura is crunchy, tender and sweet and served up with the usual suspects such as yam and eggplant. The oxtail soup is dense and rich, and the stone bowl is sizzling hot, leaving the perfect crust of rice on the bottom of the bowl, crammed with vegetables, seafood or meat.
To make sure the fixings are not overcooked, they arrive a little rare, and finish cooking at the table.
Korean Village is just a hop, skip and a jump from the Bathurst subway and is a great place for a meal before catching a flick at Hot Docs or a pint at the Victory. Be sure to take a look at the photos of stars crushing on the perfectly primped hostess.
“If you want to make good food, you have to eat good food.” -Jiro Ono. From cafeterias to highfalutin tearooms, stalwart fixtures to the newest chef of the block, Liza Zawadzka takes you on a tour of the best food Toronto has to offer.