The restaurants that are actually a part of the Metropolis at Metrotown mall complex in Burnaby aren’t exactly that great, but the surrounding neighborhood contains quite a few gems. There’s Sushi Garden on Kingsway, Ali Shan Taiwanese Restaurant in Crystal Mall, and Cattle Cafe across the street. And in the same building as Cattle Cafe, we find Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant. They share the same tiny parking lot off Nelson Street, so you may have some difficulty finding a spot during busier times.
Because it’s tucked away off of Kingsway, it’s pretty easy to miss Morak (stylized as mo:rak) unless you know it’s there. When we got inside, we were practically the only people there. This gave us pause for concern, especially since it was 7pm on Saturday, but more people started to show up closer to 8pm.
The restaurant itself is definitely on the smaller side of things, accommodating around 20 to 30 people. And while it is listed as a “fusion” restaurant and there are a couple of dishes that arguably Japanese-inspired, Morak is most decidedly a Korean place.
As can be expected, our meal started with the usual assortment of complimentary Korean side dishes. This may have been the first time I’ve been offered cold steamed broccoli, though. I should also note that we weren’t served the usual Korean barley tea, getting more of a Japanese green tea instead.
Next to the cash register on a slightly obscured chalkboard, there is mention of a special deal. If you check-in at Morak, you receive a free small tteokbokki (sometimes spelled ddeokbokki). Susanne checked in via Facebook, though I imagine a Foursquare check-in would also qualify. You can choose your level of spiciness (we went with medium). The round rice cakes had a good chew to them and the fish cakes were quite tasty. This is a great little snack and you can’t beat the price of free.
Served with a bowl of rice, the seafood tofu soup can also be ordered with your preferred level of spiciness. The tofu was very smooth and the soup had just a slight sweetness to it. That said, the portion size did feel smaller than what we normally get at House of Tofu Soup or BCD Tofu House.
You could get the dolsot bibimbap on its own or you could spend the extra couple bucks to get a small side of bulgogi. Of course, I opted for the latter. The bibimbap came with a generous helping of toppings, though it may have been missing the meat component. And, as strange as it may sound, the bowl may have been too new or too clean, because the rice didn’t quite stick to the inside like how it normally would. One of my favorite parts of ordering bibimbap is indulging in the crispy rice at the bottom with some soup or tea. The bulgogi didn’t come piping hot, which was a little disappointing as well.
The portions are a little small, but the prices are good, service was attentive, and the food was tasty. Considering that Morak is open until 1:00 am Sunday to Wednesday and until 2:00 am Thursday to Saturday, there’s a good chance I’ll be back for a late night snack. Our total bill for this meal, including tax and gratuity, came to a very reasonable $25.