4337 Boul St-Jean/Roger Pilon
Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec
Telephone: (514) 800-2239
Cost: $ 58.42-for two
Chef Hats: 3.5
A first of its type in the West Island, K-BBQ opened in September 2017 amid little fanfare. Located in a heritage stone house that previously housed Sequoia on St John Boulevard near Roger Pilon, it is a cachet gem of a place; small, intimate and warm. It is the perfect setting and great place for a convivial meal with friends, or a tète a tète for a romantic date. Seating only about twenty-five people, reservations are a must, unless you go off hours, after the lunch and dinner rush. If you’ve never had Korean barbecue before, it’s not only a meal, it’s a dining adventure you must experience at least once in your lifetime. It is best celebrated in a group with a minimum of two to four people. It is a convivial meal best not done alone, unless you fly solo with a one meal dish.
Korean restaurants are not new to this city and have been around in Montreal for at least the last 18 years. My first experience was in 2001 at La Maison de Seoul BBQ in the Westmount/NDG Borough, Recently, Korean BBQ restaurants popularity have increased not only in Montreal but throughout Asia. Trendy and all the rage they are described as one of the hottest export out of Korea since the Kia.
Wither food fad of late or a cuisine with staying power, it is a fun way to dine out. Basically, you cook your own food at a table side grill. Similar to the fondue craze that overtook the dining scene twenty-five years ago. Each table holds am inset grill that transfers heat allowing you to sear meat, fish and vegetables of your liking. Prepared dishes like sushi, bimbipap, soups, chicken, spring rolls and dumplings are also available if ordering a la carte.
What is special about K-BBQ, is it has an all you can eat menu called Happy Hour Lunch. It is offered on week days only starting at 11:30 am to 3 pm daily with a discount of 15% off the regular price. Another great thing about all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurants is the endless amount of plates that are served with your meats. They always start off with the traditional Kimchi- fermented cabbage and many other side dishes called banchan, which are usually vegetarian and may include marinated Soybean sprouts, spicy marinated cucumbers, watercress, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, radishes. Portions are small but you can have as much as you want, just keep asking.
We recently had the chance to check out K- BBQ, in the West Island one quiet afternoon. We walked in without reservations and were seated within 5 minutes. Run by a friendly and hardworking Korean family, our waitresses were accommodating but very shy and super polite. The place was very quiet and very Zen and all that could be heard was the sizzling of the grills. Not much has changed in the décor since I was there last, the stone façade, rustic décor and homey feeling still prevails. It feels like you are dining in someone’s private home.
We were shown to our table in a nook near the window and were brought or plates of banchan almost immediately. We decided to go the route of “All you can eat”, as we wanted to taste everything. We ordered some tea to compliment our meal on this cold day in lieu of alcohol. We were brought some soup made with light broth and miso and a water pitcher with lemon water.
We did not want to order too much on the first round, so we started with sirloin beef, chicken thighs, shrimps and zucchini. Portions are generous and you can order as many times as you wish, depending on your hunger. You can order as much as you want on the second round but we went easy on our choices at the onset of the meal. They gave us separate thongs to use to prevent cross contaminate of raw items with cooked items, which was indelibly explained by our waitress, as you can get very sick.
Our waitress powered on the grill and brought us other dishes. From the side bar we ordered my proverbial favorite Bibimbap, also an order of Vegetable Kimbap (Korean sushi), fried chicken, spring rolls and dumplings and for dessert fried buns.
The plethora of plates started pouring in and we could not keep up, the kimchi definitely hit the spot and so did the soup, it was gone in seconds, we sampled the other banchan dishes we received. Service was speedy and we got our complete order and started to grill our perfectly marbled slices of sirloin steak first. Next came the chicken and finally the shrimp. It took about 10 minutes to cook the first round and we replenished on one side as we went along. I like my meats and fish a little more cooked and I kept it on about 5 minutes longer till crispy on the edges.
Meanwhile we sampled entrees of spring rolls, dumplings and the vegetable sushi rolls. We were given some soya sauce and spicy sauce on the side for dipping. The dumplings were delicious and would have made our second-round list if we were not so full. They were tasty pockets of fried dumplings filled with minced pork. The spring rolls were decent but somewhat generic and a little tepid and dry. The sushi was also good but more of a teaser, they came drizzled with a little spicy mayonnaise which was good.
The bibimpap was a little disappointing as it was missing the crispy tempura texture I enjoy so much and have gotten accustomed to in other fine Korean restaurants. It also lacked in the mix of vegetables and crispy meat that this dish is known for. It was simple and just okay.
We also received at the same time the fried chicken and French Fries, which were piping hot, of decent quality and very tasty and crispy. I did not expect superior quality on all the dishes but some of the dishes were inconsistent. We came more for the BBQ portion of the meal and this was very good and very satisfactory. All in all, most of the dished were edible and of decent quality. What made up for them was the fact that they are included in the price. So there is no loss here.
We were so stuffed on first round with the amount of food we received, we never made it for the second round. For $ 22.00 a person for lunch, this is a fair bet and great relaxing experience. We were done in the same time period it would take for a regular lunch. The experience was pleasant and we got to talk enjoy a convivial meal and not stress over the crazy lunch crowd, the cold weather and life in general.
**Korean cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Originating from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions .Korean cuisine has evolved through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes ( banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served at nearly every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, gochujang (fermented red chili paste) and Napa cabbage. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. Many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. (Wikipedia)