NOTE to READERS: I know many of you may not live in Ohio, but even though this review is about a specific restaurant, it is more than that. Find a similar restaurant in your area and enjoy the experience.
Yesterday, we wanted to get out of the house and decided to spend some time at the Cincinnati Boat Show held at the convention center in downtown Cincinnati — an hour’s drive from our home in Dayton. Our habit is to park on the street for the convenience and cost-savings. The parking spot happened to be right across from a Koren Restaurant, just a few blocks from the convention center. We did not take note of this at the time, but after the show, as we headed to our car and were discussing where to eat, we saw the Korean restaurant across the street and decided to check it out. (This says a lot about the old adage: “location, location, location”).
The menu prices were reasonable ($15-20) and there was a good crowd of professionals of all ages that gave the space an exciting buzz — the kind of atmosphere we were looking for, so we headed on in. Surprisingly, there were no available tables as they all were reserved. But we were offered full-service at the bar which we were happy to take.
NOTE: Sitting at the bar is a great tip for when you don’t want to wait to be seated. We often sit at the bar because you can strike up a conversation with the wait staff and other patrons sitting next to you more easily – a cheap form of entertainment and a lot of fun.
We were delighted with the variety (but not confusingly so) of options that awaited us on the menu (see complete menu here). With guidance from our server, I chose an entree called Dolsot Bibimbab:
Spinach or watercress, rice, bean sprout, carrot, radish and lettuce topped with an egg sunny side up with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, or tofu. Served in heated hot stone bowl with Go-chu-jang (Korean spicy chili bean paste sauce) on the side.
The bowl was lined with rice. I chose the tofu option. When served, the waiter asked if I had ever had this dish and when I replied no, he offered to “mix” it for me. This involved adding hot bean paste to the dish and mixing it up. Let me tell you – it was fantastic on so many levels. The rice had a crunchy texture on the side that was against the hot pot. The meal was piping hot throughout the entire course of eating it . The meal was simple, healthy and satisfying.
Stir-fried sweet potato noodles with cabbage, onion, green onion, squash, mushroom and bell pepper. Choice of beef, pork, chicken and tofu. dinner
We topped off the meal with a very light, Green Tea Ice Cream that was beautifully presented.
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