They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Has It Really Been Ten Years?

Seoul Garden, a Korean-Chinese-Japanese restaurant, opened just north of Woodland Mall off East Beltline in 1992 -- just about when we arrived in West Michigan. We ate there a number of times. Mostly we ordered the Korean tasting menu, which came in bunches of little dishes you could assemble with seaweed paper or lettuce wrappers. The Korean owners were always happy to serve it as most of their American clientele ate the very good Chinese they were familiar with. I interviewed for a Chemistry position at nearby Calvin College once and was taken to dinner -- had a very nice orange chicken dish from the Chinese menu.

Then they moved to a new location on the east side of Woodland Mall, across the outer ring road from what is now the Celebration Woodland movie theatre.

But we really don't go to SE 28th Street very much and almost never go to Woodland Mall. And I am sad to say, that though it was about ten years ago that they moved, we've never eaten at the new Seoul Garden. (We tried once, but they are closed on Sundays.) We remedied that.

Despite it being 2014, Seoul Garden has no website. And while I don't trust online reviews, the ones I saw were glowing -- one said that Seoul Garden had the best sushi bar in the city. Perhaps, but that's for another day. We were after Korean.

Alas, the Korean tasting menu is gone. As I long suspected, not enough people ordered it. Worse, according to our very genial and helpful host, people didn't understand all the wonderful types of kimchi and fermented beans, leaving far too much waste. (We always needed to ask for more seaweed papers and kimchi and hot chili paste.) So they cut back on the Korean part of the menu.

5pm on a Wednesday in March wasn't very busy. One nearby diner was a Korean American from the other side of the state. He asked if there was a lot of Koreans in Grand Rapids -- no, not really. I noticed he was taking cellphone pics of his dishes.

Our host suggested two entrees he thought we might like -- later he was pleased that we'd not only taken his advice, but that we'd ordered both. Our server recommended a very dry sake to Mrs. Dr. Phil. Osiki Dry Sake turns out to be a domestic California sake -- who knew? Nice nutty aftertaste, which paired very well with our meal. I tasted, but primarly drink Coke in restaurants.
Steamed Beef & Vegetable Pot Stickers


(Served with, rice, kimchi & various seasonal side dishes)

Stone Bi Bim Bop
A heated stone bowl filled with rice, beef, egg, and various seasonal vegetables.

Do Ru Chi Gi
Sliced tender pork stir-fried with with Kimchi & clear noodles.
Our appetizer was four huge pot stickers. We've had steamed pot stickers in plenty of places where an order of six was smaller and had less flavor. The hot stone bowl dish had the fried egg on top, then diced into the mixture. The rice on the bottom caramelizes and becomes crispy -- it is not "burnt" in the traditional sense. The pork disk added slices of silken tofu on the side. We asked for extra seaweed paper wraps.

And I had the Nikon D100 and 28-80mmG lens with me.

I find that I have too few pictures of me, because I'm always on the other side of the camera. So I wanted everyone to see that I'm doing fine these days. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

While we were waiting for our food, I glanced at this painting from across the restaurant. You can tell where my head lives -- from my glance I didn't see an Asian building, but an alien world with a probe's parabolic communications antenna pointing straight up. (double-look-grin) I boosted the ISO setting up to 1600, the maximum before you get to the two very noisy HI-1 and HI-2 settings, and shot the rest of the evening without flash. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Missed the appetizers, but here is our spread. Yum! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Mrs. Dr. Phil concentrating on assembling a lovely seaweed paper wrap. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We ate all the stone bowl dish and the kimchi and pickled radish and ginger, plus the miso soup. We left a little of the sliced pork dish for Mrs. Dr. Phil's lunch -- she has wonderful leftovers for lunch. Jealous yet? (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We were brought two flutes with just a taste of a Japanese Fuji apple sweet dessert sake to finish. I didn't know they made such a thing. It was lovely, but a generous thimbleful was quite sufficient. On our way out we admired a display of all their sakes -- in order as the menu. I had packed up the camera by then, I should've taken a picture. I was particularly amused how they stood some of the shorter squat bottles on upsidedown sake cups to even up the heights.

As I said, we'll back sometime for the sushi and maybe Mrs. Dr. Phil will try one of the sake flights.

Excellent meal. If you're in the G.R. area, you should try Seoul Garden. And yes, they do take-out.

Dr. Phil

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