This was our second time in as many months to this trendy newcomer (as of this writing) to the K-Town restaurant scene. The place is well lit, clean with a modern feel to it. The food is Korean with a modern twist.
As found in traditional Korean restaurants, we were served assorted Banchan, which are small complimentary side dishes, to start our meal which were standard and tasty. The variety and amount of the Banchan depends on the restaurant, however, Kimchee is usually one of them, as are noodles, some kind of dried sweet, salty fish, dried shredded squid, and pickled radish.
Among the must order dishes are:
Dol Pan Kimchi Bokum Bap. Kimchi fried rice served on a sizzling hot stone pan with an egg and mozzarella cheese and a choice of chicken, beef or seafood. Served table side where they mix the raw egg, mozzarella cheese, and other ingredients to the hot rice to combine the flavors into a creamy, spicy, flavorful mixture of yummy goodness. The short grain rice they use is naturally creamy and chewy. Mixing it on the hot stone surface crisps the outside of the grains and creates a crunchy yet chewy texture which is addicting. I see why this is one of their signature dishes.
So Gal Bi Jjim. A braised beef short rib dish with carrots, dates, hard boiled quail eggs, chestnuts, jalapeno and cellophane noodles in a soy reduction sauce. Sweet from the carrots, chestnuts and dates, savory from the beef and soy reduction, and somewhat spicy from the jalapeno this dish is simply delicious! The beef rib is really tender and texturally complemented by the toothiness of the cellophane noodles and the creaminess of the steamed short grain rice served on the side – YUM! There was nothing left in the bowl except for some cleaned out bones when we were done. This is one of the Chef recommended dishes for good reason.
Hae Mool Dae Gae Jeongol. A hot pot casserole seafood dish overloaded with crabs (both blue and snow crabs). mussels, clams, squid, octopus, monk fish, conch, cod, shrimp, and scallops in a spicy creamy sauce. This impressive mountain of seafood goodness is served table side where the waiter/ess cuts up the crabs, fish, shrimp and other goodies into more manageable pieces. There was so much food here to feed 5 hungry adults. Talk about value for money! The sauce was delicious – velvety, creamy, savory and spicy enough to make you crave more. Eating it with steamed short grained rice helped temper the spice and add to the creaminess of the sauce. My mouth is watering as I type! Another one of the Chef’s recommended dishes.
Some standard fare:
Bulgogi. A traditional BBQ dish of thinly slice marinated beef, in this case rib eye. Unlike traditional Bulgogi which is cooked on the table, perferably over charcoal, this dish was cooked in the kitchen and served on a sizzling plate. The beef was well cooked and seasoned, and served with a side of lettuce leaves, fresh garlic and jalapeno. While tasty, it was a bit saucy for me. I prefer to cook it on the table myself so I can control the level of doneness of the meat. There is nothing like having a slight char on the meat from the grill.
Nak Ji Bokum. A spicy stir fried dish of octopus and vegetables. Served on a sizzling plate, this spicy, chewy and savory is enough to satisfy anyone’s craving for octopus. Since I don’t particularly care for octopus, needless to say that it was not on my favorite list. The other people in our party liked it though, so it is a matter of personal preference.
Overall, we had a great experience with 5 Senses. In fact, we are scheduled to go back there in a couple of days to meet up with a couple of dear friends. I can’t wait! I do hope they have the Chilean Sea Bass Chicharrones this time. Plus, they serve Korean breakfasts as well! How interesting, I’m going to have to try it out. Hopefully we get there early enough, I’m dying to try it out.