the world is your platter
Here is, I daresay, Montreal’s best-kept secret. It’s a shame that this city’s well-fed contentedly bounce back and forth between popular but really quite average fares at GaNaDaRa and Maison Bulgogi, but an even bigger embarrassment is the complete lack of recognition for the existence of far better Korean food just a little farther out from the downtown sphere. Despite being by far the best Korean restaurant we have frequented, Maru has a really sorry flow of customers on any given night.
The number one motivation for you to take a Bixi, hop on a 24 or snowshoe your way over is the seafood pancake (pajeon). Of course, if you already live in NDG, congrats, your house value is really more than you know it to be worth.
I mean, have you tried their seafood pancake? Laid out on a large round pan in flat, unpretentious squares, there, in front of you, the most gratifying mix of flour, calamari, chives, green onion, shrimp, carrot, and octopus, fried to a chewy core inside a yellow and lightly browned, crisp outer crust.
The smell and taste of natural salt in the seafood, the crunch and the chew, and then next thing you know, you’re down to your last bite, and it’s still as flavorful as the first. You feel wholesome, and maybe a little sad that it’s all gone now. Forget alcohol, karaoke, and every goddam thing your mother ever told you to stay away from, have some seafood pancake svp. Use a light hand with the sauce – it’s salty.
We went back a second time just for the pancake, but we were pleased to discover another super tasty dish: the pork in spicy sauce (jeyuk bokkeum), served with a bowl of rice. You get slices of pork meat stir-fried with onion, green pepper, cabbage, and coated in a semi-thick red sauce. We opted for a level 1 spiciness, which was just right. Its flavor was just as mouth-filling as the seafood pancake. Our only little gripe is that it tasted suspiciously like some MSG and a great deal of salt was involved.
Not all their food is consistently great; the spicy beef soup (yukgaejang) was on the bland side, while the soft tofu stew (sundubu jjigae) hit the spot. Their pineapple dumpling is an intriguing item on the desserts menu – give it a go if you especially like pineapples, or a strange twist of sweet and hot fruit inside your dumplings.
It’s a tragedy that this place doesn’t see more customers, so get on it for the love of pancakes! Oh, it’s also a great new place to have an office dinner (for a comfortable 10-15 pax or more with reservation), you can have almost the whole place to yourselves, and they serve a selection of Korean alcohol. Also very family-friendly.