Food for the Seoul
4928 Edmondson Pike
(in the HG Hills Shopping Center across from Southern Hills
Medical Center on the corner of Nolensville Rd. and Edmondson Pike)
I have been embracing the fabulous East Asian food I have been told about recently. At my friend's birthday party at the Tofu House, other birthday guests were talking about Seoul Garden as another exceptional Korean restaurant in town. I had heard just scant information about Seoul Garden before dining at Tofu House, and I had scant information after leaving Tofu House. The difference was a resounding endorsement for Seoul Garden by everyone dining near me. So, when the next opportunity presented itself for a dinner out, we went off to find Seoul Garden.
We headed south on Nolensville Rd, saw the Southern Hills Medical Center and turned right onto Edmonson Pike, and there it was, Seoul Garden in a brand new strip mall. There was plenty of parking, and we walked in. Because the space is less than 1 year old (8 months, Seoul Garden opened in July 2007), the restaurant felt clean and beautiful. There are 2 sides of the restaurant - the regular menu side, and the grill side. The regular menu side offers foods that are prepared in the kitchen, and is standard restaurant attendance as with most any restaurant in the USA. We opted for the grill side. To my delight, the grill is truly a wood grill built into the center of the table. The waiter brings out a hot pile of charcoal for the center of the table, and that is where meats are cooked by the diner. I love playing and doing stuff to my food, so this was a great evening for me. I also love the charcoal wood flavor, so this was a double bonus for me. It has been winter here, so we have not used our wood grill (too cold to be outside tending the thing). For people who are used to communal food (not Russian Service), who like to play with their food, eat meat and think cooking is a great activity, I highly suggest Seoul Garden for a dinner party of 2 -6 people. It was really fun!
As I am learning (since I know little about Korean food), the side dishes are a part of the dining experience. I love this too. I love the cute little dishes of various tasty treats. It is like dim sum or tapas. The sides we had at Seoul Garden were those little anchovy dried fish (yum for me! Matt doesn't like 'em, so more for me), kim chi English cucumber pickles, kim chi shredded daikon, kim chi cabbage, savory bean paste, and three others which I can't remember. It is just so fun for me to take a little nibble here, and then another nibble there.
We both ordered beef, so we got short ribs and sirloin. Both seemed to be marinated in the same sweet and savory soy based sauce, which I liked. I opted for the beef, rather than the chicken or pork because if I did not cook the beef to death, it would be ok. I just don't care for undercooked chicken or pork, and I was afraid I would not cook the chicken or pork correctly. There is such a fine line between cooked through and over cooked, dry, burnt and stringy. Beef is much more forgiving when it comes to grilling meat. The real wood charcoal at the table is amazing to me, fun, and tasty. Real wood charcoal lends such a nice flavor and aroma to the meats. The Korean place I went to 10 years ago (they are not closed) did not have charcoal, they just had a hot griddle built into the table, and the griddle just could not get deliver the BTUs, or wood smoked flavor that Seoul Gardens real wood charcoal does. Trying to cook a steak on a griddle that doesn't deliver high BTUs, well, it is not my preferred method and I think it ruins beef. At Seoul Garden, the charcoal delivers, and is just delicious!
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