Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Koreana Brings Fine Korean Cuisine to Toledo

"Fine Korean Cuisine"
536 S. Reynolds Road
Toledo, OH 43615
Tuesday-Friday 11am to 2:30pm, 4:30pm-9:30pm
Sat/Sun 12pm-10pm
Closed Monday
Visa, Mastercard

Koreana is a new addition to the culinary options in Toledo. It is the only authentic Korean restaurant in our area offering a pleasant dining room as well as a full carry out menu.

Owned and operated by Ivie and Don Kline, Koreana is the fulfillment of a dream by Ivie's sister, Young, to own a small family style Korean restaurant. Young is trained in classic Korean cuisine and worked in Manhattan as chef for a hotel featuring Korean dining. When Dan retired after a forty-one year career with General Motors, he agreed to help the sisters start their own restaurant with both financing and sweat equity.

The sisters and other family members successfully provide the uninitiated with an understanding of Korean flavors and food preparation. While Young prepares the meals, Ivie circulates the dining room to answer questions and offer menu suggestions.

Our group sampled some traditional dishes including Tuk Bok Ki ($6.95) rice cakes and vegetables in a spicy red sauce, Bul Go Ki ($13.95) sliced tender prime beef marinated in a ginger sauce, Seafood Pa Jun (11.95) Korean style potato pancakes with mixed seafood and green onions, along with Chap Chae ($9.95) clear vermicelli noodles served with shredded beef and vegetables in a flavorful sauce.

Every meal is served with complimentary Ban Chen. This consists of assorted small side dishes that may include pickled radishes, spicy kim chee, fish cakes, sweet cuttlefish, as well as individual portions of cooked and chilled watercress, bean sprouts, and broccoli. Ban chen is served with meals and is a fun way to get a sense of the unique colors, flavors, and textures of Korean food.

I returned the following week to sample the Good Mandu ($4.95) which is Korean fried dumplings stuffed with meat, mushrooms, stir fried zucchini and bean sprouts. These delicious appetizers were served with a spicy soy based dipping sauce. For dinner, we ordered the Gob Dol Bi Bim Bab ($9.95). This is a one dish meal that consists of marinated cooked beef and assorted vegetables over rice with a fried egg on top. It is served with a spicy red sauce that can be added according to diner preference before mixing all of the contents of the bowl together. Gob Dol is served in a heated stone bowl that cooks the rice on the interior surface of the bowl while you are eating the mixture so that you have a crispy rice treat at the end of the meal. For those who have never tried Korean food before, this is a great place to start.

Koreana is a welcome addition to the Toledo dining scene. If you've never experienced this type of cuisine, let Ivie know and she will graciously lead you through the menu. Fans of Korean food will be pleased that Koreana offers both international Korean favorites and authentic specialties for the more adventurous diner.

“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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