Food Porn: Koreana

The weather begins to refrigerate, and all I want to eat it soup.

When I had to drag my car into Pep Boys one chilly afternoon, I had a few hours to kill with no transportation. I crossed Niagara Falls Boulevard to the plaza that was hiding behind Monroe Muffler on the corner. Here I found Koreana, and  conveniently, my empty stomach.

I walked into a cutely simple place: white sets of kitchen tables and matching chairs filled the sparsely adorned space. There was a shelf packed full of comic books, which was exciting until I realized they were all in Korean.

The menu was simple, and taped to the wall. You will have soup, the menu told me, and my stomach mumbled in approval. There were about seven dishes to choose from, give or take, almost all of which are stews and soups. I ordered beef bone stew at the counter and sat down to a book.

When my order was called, I walked up to a total surprise. I just ordered soup, not a whole meal! I toted my bounty of food to my table and surveyed it.

Front and center was the stew in an iron crock, still boiling away before my eyes. It smelled incredible – meaty and strong. To the right was a sort of relish plate of cold cooked bean sprouts, lettuce hearts and Chinese broccoli, seasoned and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Next door was the rice, fragrant and toasty, dotted here and there with purple because of the flecks of black rice mixed in. Over to the right was kimchee, a dish I was slightly afraid of for a long time because of the smell. Tying this whole tray together were two adorable salt and pepper shakers.

Once the soup ceased boiling, I dug in. The broth was thick in taste but not in texture. The flavor was unmistakable – that impermeable, unctuous savor of marrow. However lovely it felt to have that smooth flavor coat the tongue and warm the throat, it was in dire need of salt. It took three saltings to get it right and THEN it was completely perfect.

My favorite, slippery noodles lurked at the bottom, thankfully inhaling as much sweet marrow broth as they could bear. The perfect bite of noodles and green onions, freshly drawn from the broth, was enough to send me off into that state of mind where I romance my bowl, tenderly closing my eyes and kissing each spoonful into my mouth.

The meat, although fairly tender, was ever so slightly beginning to err on the side of tough. This was probably because of the bowl which doubled as a cooking vessel, which may have overcooked the beef while I was illicitly absorbed in my noddles.

In between spoonfuls of soup, I tried the rice. Perfectly steamed, perfectly normal rice, other than the purple freckles of black rice which added a pretty touch and betrayed a respectable attention to detail. The relish plate was just what the doctor ordered, refuge from SoupSweat or alternatively SoupFace (too much leaning over the soup. You can use the phrase, I don’t mind). Cold and crisp veggies with a slight crunch of sesame. They balanced out the heaviness of the stew very nicely.

Finally, the dreaded Kimchi. I manned up, pinched a helping between my chopsticks, and chowed down. All in all, not bad! Crunchy, spicy, I liked it, although it certainly looked much fresher than any other kimchi I have seen.

Koreana is a cozy, bare boned type of place. Nothing like peace and quiet, and a piping hot bowl of delicious soup.

Koreana on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Food Porn: Koreana

  1. Mike

    Glad you reviewed this place.. I never knew it existed before, and have been craving Korean for a while..

  2. Thanks for the great review! My aunt has been running this place for the past few years and her market is now starting to expand beyond the Korean college students and me! Try the bulgogi or the chicken (닭고기) bulgogi next time you are in the area!

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