Review: Cafe KoreaAuthor: indianapoliseater | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: Fishers, IN
7262 Fishers Crossing Drive
Fishers, Indiana 46038
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never had Korean food. I’ve always been curious about it, especially with all the Korean taco food trucks popping up nationally, but have never been curious enough to make the leap to check it out. But, on a recent Saturday night, so families members and I were looking for somewhere different to eat and since they live nearby, we decided to give this one a shot (none of us had eaten Korean food before). I’ve seen several positive reviews on this place before both in print and online, including this one at Indianapolis Restaurant Scene, so I was anxious to try this out.
Before I dive into the taste of the food, I have to say that the waitress/owner was perhaps one of the friendliest people that I have ever met. She’s obviously familiar with the fact that there are a lot of people like us that have never had Korean food before, so she was more than willing to help explain the food and her culture to us, no matter how ugly of Americans we appeared to be. So, service gets an A+++++++.
What I/We Got: Seafood Pancake (Appetizer); $12.99 and Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop (Entree); $13.99.
We were going to start with two appetizers, one of which being this seafood pancake, but our extremely helpful server told us that would not be a good idea. Thank goodness she did because although my photo does not really show proper perspective, this seafood pancake was about as big as a small pizza. There were three of us and there was definitely enough for us to have second servings for each of us. As for the taste, it was just okay. The potato pancake and green onions were tasty, although they need an additional salt component (the pancake was served with soy sauce on the side, but not even it brought enough saltiness to the table). The odd thing about this pancake was the pieces of squid scattered throughout the pancake. I’m not against squid, but I’m certainly not a fan of it and every time I encountered squid while working my way through this one, it was extremely disappointing. The squid, as it often can be, was very tough and chewy and when mixed with the relative flakiness of the pancake, that’s not really a good mix.
Next up was my entree that was listed under the “Favorites” portion of the Cafe Korea menu. Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop is a dish made of pieces of beef and thinly sliced vegetables including bean sprouts, cucumber, carrots, cabbage and spinach served on top of a bed of white rice. Then, this mix is then topped with an over easy fried egg and served in a PIPING hot earthenware pot. When the dish arrives, you are supposed to mix everything together in order to get the egg yolk to spread and also because the pot is so hot, the rice will burn and stick to the bottom. On the side, everyone is served a multi-compartment dish that includes cold spinach, cold bean sprouts, spicy cucumbers and spicy kimchi (cabbage). Also, you are given a bottle of Sriracha-like hot sauce to top your dish. Of course, since I am a hot food freak, I bathed mine in hot sauce and then stirred everything together.
In terms of how it tasted, well, it wasn’t outstanding, but it wasn’t bad either. Much like the pancake, this really, really needed salt. The thinly sliced beef was a little tough, but everything else was cooked perfectly and made a harmonious dish. The problem was that there was nothing really particularly wonderful about it. The thing that this dish really did have going for it was the egg yolk. Every time I encountered some of the yolk mixed with the rice, beef and vegetables, it was creamy, warm and quite good. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough egg yolk to cover for the entire dish and was a downfall.
As for the sides, they were all good and I particularly enjoyed the spicy cucumbers and kimchi as they were both covered in spicy sauce and handsomely dressed with red pepper flakes. The odd part about all of them, at least to me, was that they were served cold. I’m sure that is part of the food culture, but it was something that my ugly American tastes did not expect.
Would I Buy It Again? This one is a tough one. While I didn’t dislike anything I had, I also wasn’t the world’s biggest fan. Personally, I would say NO to buying it again. Just not my cup of tea, so to speak. That said, I would encourage everyone else to give this place a shot to see if they like it and/or can find a favorite dish. It’s a small locally owned business by extremely friendly Korean business people that are trying to spread their culture to their little pocket of Fishers and I encourage everyone to help them stay in business by giving them at least once chance. I’m certainly glad I/we did give them a chance because they deserve every bit of help they can get.