On a fine fall day (you read that right), I met up with Annie at Lee House, a Korean restaurant tucked away almost unseen in an Old Strathcona strip mall. I hadn’t been there before, though Annie had, but the ultimate reason we chose Lee House was because of its proximity to Annie’s school and my ability to get there on one direct bus after work.
About half of the tables were full upon our arrival, but continued to pick-up throughout our stay. And though we were seated at the odd table out (most of the furniture was wood; our table and chairs were seemingly spared from an 80s furniture cull), we still benefited from the warm surroundings – wood floor, wood paneling, simple grey wallpaper and incandescent lighting. Service was conversely pleasant, as our waitress respected our desire to linger.
Neither Annie or myself deviated far from our Korean favourites – I ordered my usual stone bowl bibim bab ($12.95), while she opted for the spicy noodle soup with seafood ($12.95). I did succumb to the intriguing vegetable pancakes ($10.95), however, and selected them to start our meal.
The vegetable pancakes were the weakest part of our experience, and weren’t worth it. The plate contained what was essentially battered zucchini – the dish could have been good, but had a texture that neither of us enjoyed – not quite crispy, yet not quite tender.
On the other hand, my dolsot bibim bab was fantastic. I’ve never had a stone bowl version stay hot for the entire duration of my feast (being a slow eater and all), but this bowl was absolutely sizzling. I love the combination of pickled carrots, bean sprouts, and a creamy fried egg to bind the mixture together. Of course, the bits of crunchy rice are the best – a reward for reaching the bowl’s bottom.
Dolsot Bibim Bab
Annie liked her entrée as well, and in particular, the flavour and heat of the soup. She commented that the seafood was a bit lacking though, and would have traded the large mound of rice noodles for more mussels, prawns and squid.
Spicy Korean Red Chili Noodle Soup
It was a solid meal overall with few blemishes. Lee House’s relative accessibility on public transit is also a bonus (compared with, say, B-Bim-Baab), so I know I will be back in the future.
7904 104 Street