Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

March 1, 2008

Food for the Seoul

Seoul Garden
4928 Edmondson Pike
Nashville, TN

(in the HG Hills Shopping Center across from Southern Hills
Medical Center on the corner of Nolensville Rd. and Edmondson Pike)

the real wood brickets

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.

the fried dumplings

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!

the condiment caddy

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.

grilling our food

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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Seoul Garden Restaurant on Urbanspoon



At 3/2/08, 7:37 AM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

Lannae: That looks cool. How do you think it stacks up for vegetarians? Would there be enough for them to eat? Can you grill vegetables without getting meat juice on them?

At 3/2/08, 8:07 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Eric and Katie, I did think about how it would be for veggie eaters, and the grill side is grim. There are only 6 or 7 choices on the grill side, and they are all meat. :( We talked about how fun this place is, and how some good friends we communally dine with often, might find it fun too (one is vegan). We tried thinking about logistics for our vegan friend, but we just could not figure it out. Then we abandoned the idea of this place with our friends. I did not get a chance to look at the full menu to see if they have veggie options.

At 3/4/08, 8:00 AM, Blogger Hazza said...

I have never been to a Korean restaurant before but I imagine that they are closer to Japanaes than Chinese in their food. This looked a bit like diy teppanyaki to me. I love the idea of cooking it yourself. Maybe I will try something like this next time I am in KL - there are no restaurants like this in Manchester. DO they have any any exotic ingredients? ie, apart from the usual beef chicken, prawns, etc.

At 3/4/08, 8:25 AM, Blogger winedeb said...

You have such great places to eat in your town! This place looks like fun as you get to participate in cooking!

At 3/5/08, 10:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Hazza, you are right, this Korean grill is similar to tappanyaki. As for exotic ingredients for this type of restarant in Nashville, USA, there are none. The general population in Nashville eats quite narrowly and simply, (tripe, tongue, chicken feet etc are not on the list usually). One day, if I can ever get to Korea, it would be interesting to try more exotic ingredients.

Dear WineDeb, come up to the mainland, and we can go here! I think it is BYOB too, so even funner!


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