It’s best, I think, when the restaurant makes the pun for me, so I don’t have to even try.Already operating as a Korean fusion food truck since 2011, Seoul Food opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Wheaton in June 2013, in the gas station on the SW corner of Georgia and University, where the Global African food place used to be. Seoul Food is an upgrade over Global in all ways: food, service, decor. Especially service, which was formerly indifferent; the Seoul Food folks are friendly and seem actually happy to be there. They’re big on locally grown/sourced, organics, etc., all good.
The SF menu includes a bunch of “bowls” of meats (or tofu) and a few other items; the Wheaton location has more non-bowl options than the truck. The Korean Superbowl is popular: “sticky rice topped with choice of meat or tofu, jalapeno and serrano relish, caramelized kimchi, scallion, queso fresco, cheddar, and Korean salsa roja” (says the menu). I asked for max spicy and got it, the whole nose-running thing, a good sign. But the kitchen sink approach to ingredients seems like overkill to me, there’s maybe too much going on, plus the caramelized kimchi is too sweet for my taste. I would rather just have the spicy meat (excellent pork, in my case) over rice with some (regular not caramelized) kimchi on the side. I’m not sure the cheese works, and I have rarely if ever been known to turn down cheese. Having said all that, the flavors all popped, the ingredients were fresh, and I ate the whole thing (except for some cheese and kimchi).
Also tried the tuna maki rolls, which the proprietor rolled out as I watched at the counter. The maki are an unmitigated success: lots of rich spicy tuna puree with slivers of pickled cucumber and arugula (or some other green) in a big rice and seaweed roll. Almost as good as the one we had at the fabulous Seto Sushi in Richmond BC a few weeks ago, and bigger, for the same price. Dy-no-mite. Next time I will try the kimchi bacon omelet (!) and/or the quesadillas.
Seoul Food is on the leading edge of technology by restaurant standards. Their website is miles better than most restaurants websites, and in the store they use Square, which I had read about but never encountered. The owner threw me for a loop when she asked if she could email my receipt to me. Once my brain processed the question, I said sure, and it worked like a charm. I guess it’s time to put Square on my phone. Does everyone else already use Square all the time? If I lived on H Street or U Street or something I would probably already know all about this, right? Or certainly in San Francisco or Brooklyn. Has Huey Lewis’ prophecy come true, and it is now hip to be Square?
Well let’s not get crazy. But Seoul Food is a welcome addition to the Wheaton food scene, and by the way is totally different from Woomi Garden, despite the fact that both are Korean-focused. Both are worth a bite.