July 05, 2003

Restaurant Review: Walker Hill Korean BBQ

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Well, again with the restaurants carrying food that I know nothing about. Every now and again, we do the "Hmm, lets have X food today." And today it was Korean.

Yes, that is raw meat on the table.

The first thing that we noticed entering Walker Hill Korean BBQ was that there was a gas range in the middle of every stone table with a cast iron grill. Interesting.

Since we weren't really able to read the menu, we just ordered a meat and seafood combo for two. In fact, we were so clueless that we had to be told that the first 4 little bowls on the table (not pictured) were appetizers and not condiments! Hey, we had always just used the pink pickled ginger as an accompaniment to sushi...

Some feathery light tempura (inset) was a bit bland but provided a lot of variety - eggplant, sweet potato, brocolli, shrimp (mmm!) and mushrooms. The egg pancake was slightly sweet and much tastier than expected (I'm not a fan of Egg Foo Yong). Some chicken broth with veggies and seafood was a bit bland.

The main course was raw meat and seafood that we grilled ourselves after finding the switch for the gas underneath the table. The seafood consisted of squid, shrimp, salmon and some sort of whitefish. The meat was a marinated mix of chicken, beef and pork. The grill in action is the inset picture on the right.

The meat was pretty tasty, but the seafood was pretty bland until we dipped it in the chili oil provided. The oil also prevented things from sticking to the grill. Seeing as we mostly cooked the food ourselves, it's hard to criticize how the food was cooked. A staff member was pacing around the restaurant, presumably making sure that no one was setting the place on fire.

Some of the meat was a bit on the stringy side and benefitted from a longer cooking time, especially compared to the perfect boneless salmon chunks.

This had to be one of the funnest (yes, funnest - it's a word because I say so!) eating out experiences I've had. It took a bit of experimentation, and we burned our mouths a few times - it's funny that when in a restaurant you're not in the habit of waiting for the food to cool. People around us were ordering things that looked even more exotic, like a plate of raw silvery fish whole and slices of raw tongue.

We were lucky to get there literally minutes before the rush - it was empty when we got in and 10 minutes later there were no tables left! The formidable air conditioning system was chilly when we started but just barely keeping up when all the table ranges were going so it was nicely toasty before long. Decor was clean and modern - reassuring when there's so much raw meat around!

Recommended more for the fun than the food - but the food was good. It was a LOT of meat for 2 people.

Korean BBQ Walker Hill
280 West Beaver Creek Rd # 35, Richmond Hill, ON

Posted by JAY at 10:15 PM

July 17, 2003

Restaurant Review: Boujadi

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Boujadi is a Moroccan restaurant in Toronto. We went there one day out of curiosity, having found a glowing review on toronto.com. The food was quite different from our usual fare and delicious.

We started with harira (inset, $4.25), which was the tastiest bean soup I've ever had. In fact, it tasted so good that I forgot to take a picture of it until it was almost done... It's perfectly spicy and rich with herbs, especially coriander and cumin.

Not knowing anything about Moroccan food, we ordered the Marhaba (welcome) platter ($37.95). Served in a clay tajine (though not cooked in it like other dishes), it was a sampling of veggies, chicken cooked with olives (I hate olives, but the flavor of them in the chicken was actually very good!), phyllo pastries filled with fragrant potatos (triangles) and meat (cigars), Merguez (sausage) and Kafta (meat patties), all served on a bed of couscous.

All of it was really tasty. The meat patties seemed a bit on the dry side (maybe because of the kosher meat?), but the sausages, though porkless, were excellent. The couscous was amazing - whenever I've had it before it's been either dry/hard or soggy/soupy and bland. Here, it was a fluffy, fragrant alternative to potatoes or rice. I know I've never had better.

Portions were almost too generous - this platter for 2 could probably have fed 3 people comfortably, though it would be hard to divide up the various dishes, most of which had 2 pieces provided. Skipping the harira would've been a shame. We were stuffed and couldn't eat all of the couscous.

The service was friendly and the atmosphere established by bazaar-like decor.

I'm not sure when I'll be back, as it's a bit far away from where I live, but I most highly recommend the food.

999 Eglington Ave. W
M5C 2C7

Posted by JAY at 10:21 PM