Monday, November 26, 2007

Midori Korean BBQ Part 2 - Korean Food

(EDITORS NOTE: Midori is under new management. They don't prepare the sushi from the old menu well, but we don't know how they prepare the Korean food. We suspect their own new menu items are probably what's best. However, watch out for any roll with cream cheese in it -- it's whipped and sweet and overwhelms the flavor of anything its in. Ugh!)

The following refers to the food under the old managemet:

As I mentioned, Midori has great Korean food too. (Actually a mix of Korean and Japanese.)

My favorite is the Stone Bowl Bibimbap. You can get this elsewhere. (They make a good version at Korea House, for instance.) But I like it best here.

Bibimbap is a rice dish, originally it was for leftovers of a banquet. The kitchen help would get a bowl of rice, with a variety of foods on top, including an egg. But then in one town (and I don't recall which) restaurants started serving it in polished stone bowls that were oiled and heated to blazing hot in an oven. The rice would crisp up, the ingredients sizzle together, and the egg would cook.

And a maginificent dish was born.

Generally Stone Bowl Bibimbap is served in a blazing hot bowl, with a large scoop of rice, and a little bulgogi (thin sliced, grilled beef -- sweet and garlicky), and various vegetables -- shredded carrot, greens, beansprouts, mushrooms -- and an egg. Some places cook the egg first, but that's unnecessary. Midori cracks a raw egg on top. When you get your sizzling hot bowl, you stir it a little (or a lot, but I prefer not to mix everything up too much) and let the sizzling bowl cook it.

Bibimbap is served with a flavorful Korean hot sauce, and I recommend squirting some around the edge to caramelize just before stirring up the ingredients. I also usually pour in a little soy sauce along the edge. This will give you a couple of different flavors. It will also be too hot to eat, so let it cook and cool for a little bit. The top will cool off enough to eat while the bottom gets crunchy and tasty. Give it another stir every often to get the crunchy bits up from the bottom. (You'll have to let it cool again when you stir it, but it tastes SO good.)

One fun thing about Korean food is the array of side dishes. The fancier the meal, the more you get, usually. For lunch they just gave us three -- the spicy pickled cabbage Kimchee, the refreshing yellow sweet pickled radish, and the tasty fishcakes, cooked in a little sesame oil and garlic. You might also get a sweet and vinegar cucumber or seaweed salad, spicy radish chunks or even a creamy mix of cooked matchstick potato or turnip.

Depending on what you order, you might also get the standard salad, which you get in a lot of sushi places. (But it's really really good here. The dressing is particularly flavorful, and seems to be made partly with Korean dried shrimp.)

Another good, and filling, lunch are the noodle soups. Here pictured is the Tempura Soba -- a soup of buckwheat noodles with fried shrimp stuck in it. This, like the other soups on the regular menu, is a very Japanese flavor. They have a little card on the table, though, that lists some of their spicy Korean seafood soups.

They've got good Chap Chae (also called Jap Chai), clear noodles made of yam starch which are stir-fried lo mein style with a lot of garlic and soy and some veggies. And of course, being a Korean BBQ, a choice of things like Bulgogi -- the sweet garlicky sliced beef I mentioned above -- or Kalbi, the short ribs version. There's spicy pork or chicken. These are all cooked in the kitchen, but served on a sizzling platter with a bowl of rice and various side dishes.

Midori is on the west side of town, in a little shopping mall on Edgewood Boulvard (across from Meijers). Maybe a little hard to get over there for people on the east side, but I'll just remind you that the Goodrich Quality Theaters movie house out behind Lansing Mall is CHEAP, but is also clean and with new seating and equipment. We find Midori and a movie (or Little Panda and a movie) makes for a great combination.

I hope to get to some of the other Korean restaurants soon. In the meantime, enjoy Midori if you can.

Midori Sushi and Korean BBQ, 436 Elmwood Rd, Lansing. (527) 323-7991.

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