Dae Bak Bon Ga
1323 Robson Street
Just a caveat: due to other timing, this post was shuffled around and almost ended up being lost in the pile. That of course brings the question: when did I actually go to Dae Bak Bon Ga? How about almost three weeks ago? And that was in part thanks to the Foodosophy team and Sherman (of Sherman’s Food Adventures) who went there recently – though to their Kitsilano location. Since I have been meaning to try different cuisines, I thought, hey, why not! So, I convinced PO to tag along and there we went.
While there is a noticeable sandwich board outside, the truth is, unless you are looking that way, it is one of those restaurants you won’t notice it is there. This is specially considering there is a Starbucks in one end and a Hon’s at the other end. But, the fact it has been there for quite some time already means they have their clientele.
When we arrived, I was a bit hesitant. How come the restaurant is almost empty?! Except for two tables and a large table at the end, it was a bit scary to see such large restaurant with so many empty tables. I wonder if it is because they focus more on the later afternoon/evening crowd. It did not matter; we were there and we were hungry!
PO started with a king gyoza (?). When he got it in the table, we were both wondering… What the !@#$%!@#$ is this! I mean, if you look at it, you might call it a (Chinese) bun instead and nobody would have challenged you. However, rather than fully steamed, PO mentioned the bottom was slightly crispy. I guess that qualifies it as a gyoza instead… Taste-wise, however, it ended up like a bun so, if you call it a gyoza or bun, it won’t matter!
For his main, PO ordered the dish above. To tell you the truth, I was so busy taking pictures of my order I completely forgot to ask him about what he ordered and how it tastes, So, why I was so busy? Because I ordered BBQ lunch special (or set menu for one) that had pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. So, a picture of everything before I go to the actual description/thoughts of the food.
There are times where I wonder: would a single morsel be considered a “dish”. It was barely enough for me to give taste it and, a lot of times, I had to concentrate hard. I like different flavours; however, if I can’t give it a second shot… Well, it might be disappointing. For the most part, they were decent; though, at the same time, they were quite similar to the ones offered in other Korean restaurants. I know I might be overgeneralizing those banchan/side dishes but, then again, it is part of the whole order. One part that sort of disappointed were the salads. Now, I am among the people who can have a salad without dressing and won’t complain. It fulfilled the role of providing some vegetables in the meal but I could have easily skipped them.
As for the meats, unlike most other similar Korean places where, for a single diner, they won’t turn on the burner, here, they did. Wow, I wonder how much is their monthly gas bill if more people went to eat by themselves (like me)! Portion wise, it was quite decent for the price, though, of course, after it cooks, they will shrink somewhat. It was decently seasoned and it wasn’t chewy at all. Then again, when it is sliced so thinly, there is no way it should be chewy (unless it was cut along the grain). Of course, that pose a problem: if all the meat was in the burner, how can you guarantee they won’t burn if all of them were in the burner at the same time? That was partially a problem, as the waitresses kept pushing the meats on to the grill – I guess partially to make sure the burner wasn’t turned on the whole time. In the end, some pieces ended up charred and some others stuck on the grill.
To finish the meal itself, I was given “dessert”. To the left, a piece similar to Japanese mochi and, to the right, a glass of a sweet drink. It had a slight ginger-y aftertaste but, other than that, I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Then again, I am not crazy about sweets, so…
I will have to say that the fact I was snapping pictures the whole time might have had an impact in the service. As mentioned above, they were really trying to hard to have everything done for me. In a way, it was somewhat obvious when they asked me if I was a journalist. My negative reply resulted in a bit of disappointment. But, putting that aside, I thought the food was decent in its own ways, despite it was falling into the situation of providing too much but too little. Would I come back? If I was by myself and wanted some galbi and cooking it myself, may be. Otherwise, there are other Korean establishments I should visit before making a judgement.