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Gastronomic Fight Club SM

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Korea House - Santa Clara, CA

posted by snekse
I'm a big fan of Korean food. I became a bigger fan after eating at Korea House near San Jose. I've only eaten at a handful of places, so my exposure to the cuisine is a bit limited. Almost all of them have been good, but never have I been to one that executed as well as Korea House.

Now I'm sure there are debates that rage on about what makes a great Korean restaurant. Is it how well they prepare the star dishes found in every restaurant, such as Bulgogi, Galbi and Bibimbap? Or is it the lesser known dishes that you can't find at most other restaurants? Or is it the Banchan - those addictive side dishes that come out in swarms and keep coming as you ask? And if so, is it because of the sheer number of different dishes that crowd your table, or is it because this place does Kimchi better than that place?

I'd argue all of the above in almost equal importance. How disappointed would you be if there was no Banchan? And is it worth going to a place that can't deliver good Bulgogi? And I'd also argue that a place that doesn't have some harder to find dishes probably doesn't make the easy to find dishes as well as other places in town.

So where does Korea House fall into this spectrum? I'd say they lean on their Banchan. Some of the best and most interesting I've had so far; not to mention the most. And even the common side dishes tasted better than I'm used to. The menu also had several dishes that I've never seen before, mostly of the seafood variety. Of the classics, I can't say they blew me away, but they were no worse than I'd find elsewhere, so as a whole, that puts them a notch above every other Korean restaurant I've been to so far. So that puts it in both the top and bottom 5 :-)

Rating: 87

Korea House
Santa Clara, CA (El Camino Real/San Tomas Expy)

2430 El Camino Real (MAP)
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 249-0808

Korean Side Dish (Banchan) Recipes
The characteristics of Korean food
Yelp Reviews
Korea House on Urbanspoon

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