We go to Come Along Restaurant on Kingsway near Slocan on a not infrequent basis, both for dim sum and for dinner. On one of our more recent outings, we noticed that the other Chinese restaurant on the block had been replaced by a new spot called Andamiro Korean Bistro. This intrigued me for a few different reasons.
First, there aren’t too many Korean restaurants in that particular neighborhood. You’d have to travel up or down Kingsway in either direction. Second, Andamiro also happens to be the name of the company that produced the Pump It Up rhythm game series, which is like a Korean version of Dance Dance Revolution. And third, the prices on the menu posted outside looked to be a few dollars cheaper than most other Korean restaurants.
There’s a $30 dinner special, for instance, that’s supposed to be good for two to three people. It includes some jap chae noodles, a plate of bulgogi, a seafood pancake, and a piping hot bowl of sundubu stew. That sounds like a great value. The rest of the menu is equally affordable, so we came back and went a la carte.
Dinner started with the standard banchan side dishes shown above. It’s not a tremendous variety, but the usual potato, kimchi and seasoned bean sprouts were there, along with a simple green salad.
Unagi Bibimbap: $8.95
I love hot stone bowl rice. Unlike most other Korean restaurants that might only give you a choice between a vegetarian bimbimbap or one with ground beef, Andamiro Korean Bistro offers several other toppings options. We went with unagi (BBQ eel). And while I commend this subtle level of creativity, the execution is a little lacking.
The bowl didn’t arrive “sizzling” like how I expect it and it was only about half full. There wasn’t much unagi. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything. What was there tasted fine, but it’s hardly anything special.
Seol Leong Tang: $8.50
Another one of my standard favorites at Korean restaurants is this simple beef noodle soup. It’s mostly about that delicious beef bone broth that goes so well with plain white rice. Not unlike the bibimbap, the seolleongtang was just fine and didn’t have too much in the way of beef slices or noodle. The version at Seoul Doogbaegi, on Kingsway near Windsor, is far better.
LA Galbi: $10.95
This was the dish that really solidified my opinion of Andamiro. The small portion of barbecue short ribs looked awfully sad on this larger square plate. They also lacked much in terms of char or flavor. That said, many other Korean restaurants charge more than twice as much for a plate of galbi (kalbi), but most other Korean restaurants offer at least twice the portion size too.
The Metro Vancouver area is filled with terrific options for Korean food. I’m especially a fan of House of Tofu Soup and Kimbab Cheonguk, which are both in the “Koreatown” part of North Road. With Andamiro Korean Bistro, you get an experience that is merely mediocre at best.
The prices are lower, because the portions are decidedly smaller. If you’re looking to save a few bucks (the lunch specials are really cheap too) and you’re not that hungry, you can do a lot worse. But I’d still rather go somewhere else.
The total bill, including tax and gratuity, came to $33.