We knew that we wanted to try the infamous Korean spicy chicken cooked over a grill with a melted cheese ring around it so we decided on a wintry Friday night to go to Kobi Korean BBQ Restaurant to check out how they made it here in Toronto. In my trip to Myeongdong, South Korea last autumn, I was blessed to be able to try the real deal there at Yoogane and it was seriously the best dining experience of my trip there! (You can read about the full experience and view photos here.)
I called the Kobi Korean BBQ Restaurant to make a reservation during the afternoon but they informed me that they weren’t taking reservations that night. It was unfortunate because since we didn’t have a reservation, we actually had to wait behind a crowd of people when we got there at 7 p.m. ish for a table for two. It was very busy there on a Friday night. The server in charge of the seating arrangements told us that it would be a 40-minute wait. Since we didn’t want to head to another restaurant to risk waiting for a table and not getting one, we decided to wait it out. The number of waiting parties were kept track of on a white board with a marker that the server used to cross out whenever parties were served to a table. I was waiting anxiously and watching him every time he marked something off of the white board. 😄
The server must have sensed my eagerness to get a table because we soon got our table within 30 minutes or so of waiting. Yay! We were excited. 😀
Of course, we had to order the Spicy Chicken & Cheese Korean Table BBQ set. You had to order a minimum of 2 orders of it so instead of the $18.99 price that’s printed on the menu, this dish is really around $38. We chose the Regular spicy level. We also opted to add Extra Cheese and Rice Cakes to the set. We also ordered a Seafood Pancake with Garlic Chives. 😀
We were really excited about the meal and our spicy chicken and cheese ring adventure soon began. The server brought forth five plates of banchan first with a complimentary steamed egg dish. I was so thrilled with this and absolutely thought that the steamed egg was so delicious! It was plain steamed egg but I enjoyed its fluffiness and smoothness. Ken thought it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been.
The banchan included kimchi, fermented bok choy, bean sprouts, eggplant, and apple slices & cucumbers. The eggplant was a unique one that I enjoyed.
Soon, our gigantic wok of spicy chicken and cheese ring arrived to the table! It was definitely worthy of photos and videos. Our extra cheese arrived in a 2-cup measuring cup and the rice cakes in a separate dish. After turning on the heat on the tabletop BBQ, the server poured in the rice cakes and cooked it for us a little bit. Unlike my experience at Yoogane, the rest of the cooking was left to us that night.
At this time, the Seafood Pancakes with Garlic Chives had already arrived. This looked amazing and came with a dish of soy sauce and floating garlic chives. I gobbled up a couple slices of the Seafood Pancakes as I waited for the cheese to melt and this Seafood Pancake was absolutely delicious! There were just enough shrimps and squid in it with green chives and the pancake itself was also thin and not greasy! It had been a while since I had last had a really delicious and well made Seafood Pancake and I could confidently say that I had found it. Yay! 🙂
Once the chicken, rice cakes, cabbage, and onions had been thoroughly cooked in the centre grill and the cheese had melted in the ring, we began eating by taking a piece of the chicken and dipping into the cheese ring to eat. The cheese had probably been left cooking longer than it should have been because we didn’t get the gooey and stringy cheese that we wanted but it was still really delicious. The cheese smelled amazing!
The tender dark meat chicken pieces, when wrapped around the cheese, were a perfect match of tastes and the cheese helped to take away the slight spiciness of the meat and veggies too. The rice cakes were also firm and tasted just right.
(I also realized that there were actually chunks of pineapple and corn embedded into the cheese! This was new to me since the one I had had at Yoogane had been pure cheese. However, once we started pouring in the extra cheese to the ring, we had just pure cheese. 🙂 )
We spent the next two hours eating, resting between eating, adding our extra cheese to the ‘moat’, and eating again until we finished as much as we could of the massive dish. It was definitely a foodie adventure and I was so glad that I got to try the Toronto version of it! 🙂
Kobi Korean BBQ Restaurant also offers pork belly Korean BBQ and we could see others enjoying that if they weren’t eating the Chicken & Cheese dish. I would love to return to try out their Korean BBQ as well as a cold noodle dish with vegetables that I noticed our neighbours eating. It looked delicious and was interactive since the diner was using her gloved fingers to separate and distribute the noodle dish.