I’m sort of a big deal in Korea. I was invited to eat lunch at a new Korean BBQ restaurant in the Guu neighborhood in 2007 smack dab in the middle of the countries massive anti US beef campaign. You can see me shoving insanely expensive Korean beef into my mouth at 30 seconds.
So you get the picture. I’m passionate about Korean BBQ. I have been on the hunt for authentic Korean food in Toronto since arriving back from my year in Seoul three years ago. I almost gave up hope but had a food writer whisper in my ear, Charcoal and Salt. On a hot summer afternoon I was feeling particularly lazy with my friend Matt. We were lazing by the fountains in the park below our apartment and out of no where had an insatiable craving for Korean BBQ. I flipped through my iPhone’s “Restaurant To Do List” and moments later, and with much enthusiasm we spontaneously jumped on the subway bound for Yonge and Finch.
We arrived in the mid afternoon to a humble, shabby little restaurant. We were seated at a BBQ close to the kitchen. I smiled as I stared up at the flat screen TV which was playing a popular Korean soap opera. Soju and Hite beer posters adorned the otherwise barren walls. While ambiance and service was nothing to write home about (or on a blog for that matter) I was so happy to finally find a Korean restaurant that I can genuinely recommend to friends and family in search for authentic grill moments. By no means did I feel like the experience was exactly like what you would find in Korea but I think its pretty darn close and wow did it bring back nostalgia!
The samgyeopsal was heavenly and paired with what seemed like hundreds of little dishes. The fatty beef fried perfectly in seconds and quickly disappeared before our eyes, wrapped in lettuce and shoved into our mouths. Toronto loves Tofu Village for its cheap eats and hot bubbling soups and I have had many great meals at the cutesy Korea House. Charcoal and Salt however has fulfilled my painstaking search for top notch Korean BBQ. This hole in the wall restaurant at Yonge and Finch is worth the jaunt.
tofu bean soup
#379 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.