Shortly after Chef Jason Laurin (@chefjayl) of Essence Catering bid his Smoke Dinner‘s guests good night, Jenn and I struck up a conversation with guest Chef Michael Hay (@michaelthehay). Besides chatting about developments in the Courtyard Restaurant’s kitchen refit, which Chef Hay is actively sharing with twitter, the subject of an old conversation came up, The Dolsot Cafe (512 Bank Street). Apparently, Chef Hay is rather fond of the home-style Korean restaurant’s dolsot bibimbap.
Dolsot bibimbap is a stone bowl, containing sticky rice, a variety of cooked and/or raw vegetables (stir fried slivered carrots and daikon, blanched bean sprouts, sliced boiled mushrooms, and spinach) and cooked beef (roughly minced or coarsely ground). Traditionally, it is served with a raw egg yolk.
While we have visited the Dolsot Cafe several times now, neither Jenn nor I have eaten bibimbap outside of Toronto. We will have to remedy that situation.
For the time being, here are dishes we had from our most recent visit.
Here is our traditional banchan (meal side dishes)
There’s something about Korean restaurant rice I adore. It may be the stickiness, the fragrance, or the fact it handles well entirely with chopsticks (and without having to tip a bowl to your mouth).
As we typically do, we ordered haemod pajun ($8.95)
My main: Gamjatang hat ($8.95)
Her main: Kalguksu ($8.95)
Ordinarily, two people do not order this much food, something our server pointed out to us when she wheeled our dishes to us. She was amazed we finished everything.
While every dish was surprisingly generous in portion, it is not everyday you get to eat food as if you were dining in a Korean family’s home. Everything tasted freshly made, no instant soup mixes, no short cuts. The pancake was assembled and “griddled” on high heat, developing a lovely crust. The pork soup and chicken broth, tasted as if they were long simmered. The vegetables were crisp and vibrant. The noodles were al dente (yes, Asian noodles can be tooth-some and chewy). Everything, save for the banchan, were served piping hot.
Great food at great prices. Jenn and I will be back. Though, we may just order a bibimbap each next time…Then again maybe not