Monday, June 27, 2016
Troy's Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen is a charming mix of fast-casual Korean eats and mini-mart all in one. It's hard to pay attention to the menu while a wall of unique Korean snacks is staring at you. Step away from all the temptations and pay attention to the bevy of dishes waiting to be devoured. From bulgogi to bibimbap and japchae, one of each of these classic Korean dishes is a good start to exploring the menu.
My love of Korean food began with bbq and quickly grew with each bite of bibimbap. It's a comforting bowl of rice mixed with a delicious blend of sauteed vegetables, sweet and savory bulgogi beef, and the signature gochuchang pepper paste for added kick. At Sunhee's, this Korean classic gets a fresh makeover with a swap of black rice, turning my love of this dish into an obsession. The dark purple color not only adds a pop of color to this rainbow of flavors but an added texture that is pleasantly chewy and nutty. Aside from the black rice, my favorite component of the bibimbap is the addition of gosari, a wild fern/fiddlehead that adds an amazing earthy flavor. The rice bowl is also refreshingly chockfull of veggies.
Although lacking the usual spread of free banchan side dishes, you'll find a complimentary side of kimchi with the rice bowls. The quintessential Korean pickled cabbage had the perfect balance of spice to fermented funk. Plus my favorite banchan of japchae was available as an appetizer. It's a dish of sweet potato glass noodles with stir-fried veggies tossed in soy sauce.
My only disappointment was the pajeon. The flavors of this seafood pancake were there but it lacked the satisfying crisp texture that I enjoy the most from this dish. As for the mochiko cake, I liked that it wasn't too sweet and the chewy texture reminds me of some of my favorite Vietnamese desserts but alas, I've never liked walnuts in my dessert.
I'm looking forward to returning to Sunhee's and adding the kimbap rolls and tofu stew to my lists of things to try. Hopefully the bar area will soon be opened too; the "coming soon" sign had me intrigued.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Lucky for us there's Namu Korean BBQ in Colonie. We enjoyed our last experience at Seoul Korean and were happy to hear about the addition of more Korean in the area but with a diy twist. Each table is outfitted with built-in grills and the thought of grilling our own meat sounded pretty exciting. The bbq side of the menu is a mix of different cuts of pork, beef, and chicken. Priced from $19 to $29, it's a bit steep for the little amount of meat served. Nonetheless, the bulgogi beef that we ordered was tender and tasty enough. The aromas of grilled marinated rib eye and charred scallions was divine. We insisted on grilling our own meal but the servers are happy to do it for you too. Flavors could've used more balance as I tasted more sweet than savory but it all came together when wrapped up in lettuce with some rice and a schmear of gochuchang pepper paste, although that in itself could've been spicier.
The BBQ came with a generous number of banchan which were the highlight of our meal. These free refillable side dishes are great complements to the meal. J and I both couldn't stop eating the japchae noodles but it was the teeny tiny anchovies and dried shrimp that won me over. Don't be bothered by the tiny eyes staring at you; these briny, salty, and savory bits were delightful, enough to ask for seconds of. Other banchan included a pickled radish and assorted veggies, stir fried green beans, marinated cold tofu, cold spicy squid, and the ever present kimchi. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of heat and abrasive sourness of this quintessential Korean fermented cabbage staple. Not that I wanted blow my head off spicy, but at least a bit more kick.
We're suckers for Japanese grilled squid so the Korean version was right up our alley. A whole squid comes sizzling on a hot stone plate with a mix of scallions and bean sprouts with a side of sweet glaze. The waitstaff chops it up tableside for more manageable bites. J loved this dish. Squid was not too tough at all and the hot plate imparted a good smokey flavor. I could've sworn I tasted butter and it oddly worked. Veggies were a welcomed addition too.
There was a steady Korean clientele for a Friday night and I'd be curious to hear their take on its authenticity. While flavors could use some adjustments here and there, overall our dining experience was pleasant and we would come back to try the stone bowls and stews. It's not K-Town level but for what it's worth, it's another dining experience for the Capital Region that wasn't there before. While we wait for spring, we'll take tableside grilling for now.