The hunt for the best bibimbap goes on with the next stop, “Old Village”! This little place, a few miles south of my previous review, is always busy because of their barbecue! Their claim to fame is the use of real charcoal (not gas) at their table-side grills!
They are always busy!
But all this grilling excitement is lost on me because I’m all about the dolsot bibimbap! “Old Korean Village” not only delivers an awesome grilling experience but they have a vegetarian dolsot bibimbap right on the menu! No need for me to ask for substitutions!
But it’s not your ordinary veggie dolsot. It’s a mushroom dolsot! And the other super-cool feature is that I don’t have to ask the server to skip the egg …as I am sometimes “not feeling the egg”. Their mushroom dolsot bibimbap is always chock full of at least 3 different types of mushrooms.
Their stone pot is of the ordinary Korean restaurant sort so no surprises there. I do want to commend them for always serving their dolsot with an extremely hot bowl. The rice is toasted in no time at all. I rarely have to wait to have a firm crust! “Crunch!”
Saba Man’s also skips the grill and usually orders their lunch combo of kalbi, bulgogi, chicken and tempura!? Now, you could say that I’m a bit of a food snob but I really have a hard time coming to terms with restaurnats that ”cross the cultural lines” . Do Americans ”know” or just ”don’t care” that tempura is not Korean? Heck, one could also argue tempura’s authenticity as a Japanese food!
But who am I to talk… I am the person who stuffs all sorts of mixed ethnic foods into a box- lunch and declares, “bento!”
But I digress and that’s a discussion for anther day.
Okay back on topic.
As most restaurants in the area, they offer lunch specials, like the combo that Saba Man often orders. Their prices are along the same margin as the other Korean establishments too. So in any case, I ‘m not really considering cost as part of my hunt. It’s mostly about taste and quality.
But I think Saba Man likes “Old Village” the best thus far. And I bet it’s because of the charcoal flavor in their bulgogi. However, we both agree that the small offering of banchan could improve. They only serve six kinds and of one of them is just steamed broccoli with kochujang sauce. I like broccoli with kochujang sauce, but wish they would step it up. On the upside, the potato salad is killer and they don’t mind giving you refills. You just have to be patient with the servers as they are “rippin’ and runnin” through the packed dining room! Of course some diners don’t care. After all, if you’re grilling with real charcoal right there at the table…who cares about the banchan?
The decor is nice too. Black.
Black tables, black chairs, black walls, black ceilings, and black walls. The occasional touches of natural wood provides some interest and gives a hint of the reason people eat there. The charcoal.
Oh and they play cool music too. “Caribbean Queen” anyone?
As for me,I think I ‘m going wait after a few more restaurants before declaring this place a winner. But so far… I’m loving the mushroom dolsot! I enjoyed it so much we’ve gone back a few more times…just to be sure!
Old Village Korean Restaurant
15200 Aurora Avenue N.
Shoreline, WA 98133
Here’s cell phone shot that I took durin another visit.