|Soon Dubu Chigae|
We decided to go up the road to the large Korean restaurant on Broadway. We'd been there once before for Sunday brunch. It wasn't great but buffet brunches hardly ever are. We thought or rather hoped the a la cart menu would be better. As is the case with the ubiquitous sushi in Vancouver, Korean food is equally easily accessible. This leaves a very wide gamut of quality. It is that much harder when you're very accustomed to scratch cooking. Watery broths, muted flavours and toned down spices to accomodate more timid palates is very common. Korean food is VERY bold. For those who expect something like Chinese food or Japanese food are frequently surprised. I have had alot of boring Jja Jjang Myun (Korean Blackbean Noodles) and bland Kimchee Chigae (Kimchee Stew) in these compromising restaurants. Royal Seoul Restaurant fell into this disappointing category which was further aggravated by irksome shortcuts.
The original reason I really wanted Korean this week was because I had a big craving for Jja Jjang Myun. It is a Rice Noodle dish served with a Korean Blackbean sauce. The Korean version of this sauce is notably different from the Chinese. It is equally espresso dark in colour but the Korean one has a smoother and consistent texture. As well, the Korean sauce has a gentler more round flavour than the jagged saltiness of the Chinese cousin (which I like as well). The sauce normally contains, Onions, Peas, Potatoes and a protein. The protein is more often than not, Pork but mom has been making it for years with Seafood. In many restaurants you can order it with Seafood only. In fact, if the restaurant is not making any shortcuts, you should be able to make it to order with Seafood only. I once ordered Seafood Jja Jjang Myun at Da Rae near Burnaby and it came with Seafood added TO the minced Pork! Anyhoo, Royal Seoul House did not have Seafood only option which tells me that they likely make a big vat of it for the day (or possibly more) and just serve it. Disappointing.
So I ordered the Soon Dubu Chigae and D ordered the Yuk Kae Jang. We started with the Korean Seafood Pancake to start first. The two stews came with 3 Ban Chan a piece, Korean 'condiments' but we only got 5. :^( Oh well, we started with the pancake. It had alot of seafood though skimpy on the scallions and any other veg like say shredded carrot. It was also incredibly Oily and slightl too Eggy.
|Korean Seafood Pancake|
|Yuk Kae Jang|
They do have at table BBQ stations which smelled right. Though it is hard not to do that right unless you use low quality beef, sauces and/or you don't have a clue. Because you can't take shortcuts on stuff like Bulgogi or Kalbi without it it being inedible. So if you're looking for a bit of a kitschy meal, go for the BBQ.
The decor.... hmmm. Well, they tried to make it look authentic or rather, in my opinion, what they think Westerners would think is authentic. The walls and booths have that papered pane look. There are traditional Kimchee jars in the windows with old style lamps. They could have left it there but no. Every spare wall was plastered with a Korean poster of some sort of tat like Soju or Dishwasher. Was this meant to make me feel like I was in Korea?
The best Soon Dubu place I've been to in Toronto looks like anyone's kitchen and water is served in plastic pitchers and the food is YUMMO, and that's the point right?
Service: Slow and slightly ditsy
Seoul House Royal Korean
1215 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6H