Restaurant Reviews – 2009

Restaurant Reviews – 2009

Jang Mo Jib

1719 Robson Street

$10 to $20

Review by Jing Zhou

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When someone says Korean restaurant, a lot of people think barbeque. However, Jang Mo Jib, one of Vancouver’s most popular Korean restaurants, offers a whole lot more.

The restaurant was packed when we arrived for dinner. Although we were seated within five minutes, I strongly recommend making a reservation. Looking at the menu, we were surprised with the variety of dishes they offered, from bul go gee, a Korean-style beef barbeque, to soon doo boo, a Korean-style tofu hot pot. My friend and I decided on gam ja tahng and soondae to share. Gam ja tahngis a popular Korean-style hot pot made up of vegetables in a spicy pork back and neck bone soup. It arrives in a portable gas stove to cook slowly at your table. We enjoyed the meat, which had a soft texture that melts in your mouth. It was difficult to pick the meat off the bones, but that was the fun part of the experience. Although the menu says that a portion of gam ja tahng serves two, it looked big enough for four to share. Soondae is a Korean-style sausage, filled with sweet rice, potato vermicelli noodles and pig’s blood. It is served with a small plate of spices for dipping.The sausage has a distinctive texture, almost like a sushi roll. Pig’s blood is a common ingredient used for texture in Asia, and is quite tasty once you get used to it. Aside from the fact the service was a bit slow, Jang Mo Jib is a good choice for those looking for authentic Korean food in an authentic Korean environment.

 

Japadog

Burrard Street and Smythe Street

$10 and under

review by Cody Skinner

Despite the current economic gloom, a tight budget does not necessitate monotonous PB&J paper bag lunches. Downtown Vancouverites will be happy to know a favourite street-meat is now more available than ever. While most businesses are downsizing, Japanese hotdog stand Japadog has fired up a second barbeque in the heart of the financial district and continues to add to its menu. If Japadog’s original nori-topped Terimayo hotdog is no longer exotic enough for you, try the sakana with minced tuna, or the koroke with mashed potatoes. The kurobuta dog, a Berkshire pork wiener topped with teriyaki sauce and bonito flakes, is a favourite. At $5.50 it isn’t the cheapest dog on the street, but the better quality frank is worth the extra change. All dogs on the menu are available with veggie substitutes, or if you’re hungry for a western-style dog, they offer that too. Drinks range from popular soda brands to interesting Japanese imports at an affordable one to two dollars per can. While outdoor food vendors are prone to grumpy days, the welcoming smiles of the Japadog hash slingers never waver. Whether hotdogs qualify as authentic Japanese food may be a debatable point, but the staff all migrated from Japan with work visas specifically for this job. Helpful hint — if you’re new to Japadog, listen carefully for your order. Not knowing the proper Japanese pronunciation of your hotdog can make it difficult to recognize when your dog is ready

 

Sawasdee

4250 Main Street

$10 to $20

review by Chelsea Goodman

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Sawasdee Thai Restaurant has been serving award-winning authentic Thai food in a casual atmosphere for many years. Upon entering, we were offered a choice of seats in either the bright front section or the more intimate back area of the restaurant.We opted to sit under the skylight in the front. We started off with the Tom Yum hot and sour soup. Full of straw mushrooms, fresh prawns and green onions, it was flavoured with lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves, making for a perfect spicy citrus balance. Next up was the tod mun pla, four slightly sweet, deep-fried white fish cakes. They were served with small refreshing chunks of cucumber soaked in a sweet chili sauce and topped with crushed peanuts. For our mains we chose the phad Thai and the yellow curry, both served with a spring roll and chicken sauté. My phad Thai — flat rice noodles stir-fried with tofu, prawns, egg, crushed peanuts, onions and bean sprouts — was great but needed more prawns. The yellow curry, served with a side of sweet jasmine rice, contained thick, tender slices of chicken and big chunks of potato. The spring rolls had a thin, crispy outer layer and were stuffed with vermicelli noodles and small black beans. Their simplicity was offset by the peanut and sweet chili sauce that came with them. The skewers of chicken sauté were grilled to perfection and bursting with flavour, leaving us wanting more. Our last dish, a smooth homemade coconut ice cream, was the perfect end to our flavourful journey.

Market

1115 Alberni Street

$30 to $50

review by Julie Kim

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With sister restaurants all over the world, Market by Jean-Georges is Vancouver’s latest international culinary escape. Proudly perched on the 3rd floor of Vancouver’s tallest skyscraper, the Shangri-La Hotel, Market’s concept is to create constantly changing dishes incorporating local and seasonal ingredients. The spacious restaurant boasts five rooms: the dining room, the café, the bar, the lobby lounge and the soon-to-be completed exterior dining patio. The restaurant’s central location and triple Michelin award winning Executive Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten make the dining room difficult to just pop into. It’s advisable to make a reservation at least a day in advance. The lunch menu creatively fuses Asian cuisine with contemporary Pacific Northwest foods. I had the tuna wasabi pizza, while my dining partner enjoyed the seared scallops with caramelized cauliflower and caper-raisin emulsion. For our main course, we enjoyed the seared BC beef tenderloin with gingered mushrooms and soy-caramel sauce, and the grilled Market burger served with Russian dressing and onion rings. The plating was simple but elegant, the portions generous, and the flavors unique and comforting. For dessert, we had the warm chocolate cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and the pavlova with passion fruit sorbet. The sorbet’s aroma was so enticing the ladies seated next to us asked what we had ordered. Now that’s a finish.