first and foremost, i apologize for the wretched photos being paired with this wonderful post. i have misplaced my camera for now- it’s somewhere in my mess of an apartment back in portland- that’s right 207, i’m MIA, so i had to use an iphone camera. for those who are curious about my technological vices- No! I do not have an iPhone, nor do I plan on splurging on one. I’m a bit confused by the touch-screen and other complicated features like that. for starters, this post is not about technology, it’s about food, like i tend to write about, so no worries foodies, this blog is not catering to techies, it’s catering to you!
exactly one week ago tonight, i found myself in cambridge, ma at the entrance of koreana. as i had posted way back in august, i am on a korean food bonanza ever since returning from seoul on august 21st. koreana in cambridge is the only korean barbeque restaurant in the vicinity of portland, maine, and i knew that if i wanted to get the wine sam gyup sal, i’d have to make this trip down to MA. obviously, i have other reasons to visit boston/cambridge area, so i did, and this is where i ended up. walking into the restaurant i was immediately greeted by two korean hosts with warm hospitality- they didn’t even flinch when i mentioned that i was a party of eight, and soon enough we were seated at a bbq table, and our drink orders were filled. it was swell being in the company of family last friday evening, and seeing as i got to share a part of my recent life with them, it made it all the more special.
we started the evening off with an order of the pan-fried gyoza and a veggie korean pancake. the serving size for the pancake was just right- eight pieces, cut like a pizza would be. every bite had delicious pieces of scallions, shrimp, and onion. the gyoza were small, but fried crisp, and the filling was savory yet satisfying- pork, scallions, ginger and onion. the sauce was well blended- not too much soy sauce or too much sesame oil, just the right combination. following our tapas, we ordered our entrees. three guests settled on shrimp bi bimbap, while another three settled on bulgogi, i chosed the wine sam gyup sal, and one chose the salmon teriyaki. k & i used the bbq table, while the others prefered the have theirs cooked for them inside of the kitchen. i like cooking on the grill on your table, because it gives you the chance to cook it to your liking, fry garlic until its crisp, and preoccupy your hands and cooking urges. my portion was quite large- though it was said to feed one, it fed both of us quite well, and k’s serving of bulgogi fed us both too. both of our meals were served with traditional sides, an assortment of kimchi, bean sprouts, fish cakes, rice, salad, and kelp, and post meal, we all got the fantastic korean digestif- Sujeonggwa- a tea made from cinnamon, ginger, and persimmons. that made me miss seoul the most. everyone was pleased with their meals, and i, well to be honest, a bit distressed. it made me quite nostalgic, and then all of a sudden, i wished i were in seoul. though i found myself traveling to 1369 cafe, where i treated myself to a nice hot vietnamese coffee.
i enjoyed the overall atmosphere in koreana, it was clean, classy, and modern. the decor was aesthetically pleasing, black and wooden, and the lighting was nice and intimate. the space is large, but it does not feel over-crowded to say the least. a bar is off to the left side of the restaurant where you can watch the sox game, and eat sushi. the owner was quite nice, when i said, Anyong-haseyo 안녕하세요. he bowed, and responded with an “anyong!”. the staff was attentive and quick, and they were all so pleasant when you spoke with them. the food was delicious, as i’ve previously mentioned, for it transported me back to korea. it’s a shame that there aren’t too many korean options in maine. sure there’s happy teriyaki, soju, fuji, and nara, but if you want traditional korea as well as korean bbq, it’s worth the hassle to come down to cambridge for a day. besides visiting koreana, you could also go to sweet cupcake in harvard square or cafe algiers. a trip to lush and anthropology may also be in order, and to finish your night, post-koreana, i suggest doing the same thing i did- and that is to go to 1369 and have your caffine fix. I love Koreana, and I strongly reccomend it.
i don’t take credit for cette photo; all courtesy of the koreana restaurant website.
PS: there’s a new korean restaurant bound to open on exchange street sooner or later- no it’s not korean BBQ but it still may be delicious, and you best believe that i’ll be reviewing it once it’s broken past the first 3 month stench. oh ja, i’m also headed back to the infamous 207, so no worries, my leave of absence will be broken as of tomorrow evening.