November 28, 2018:
I saw this Japanese bbq place from my Instagram foodie friends and we decided to check this place out for our annual holiday dinner.
I called ahead of time to book a table for three. Initially, the original Mandarin-speaking person who picked up my call seemed to have trouble understanding English, so a second person was asked to take down my details instead.
When I arrived for our 6:15 p.m. dinner on a Wednesday, I was delighted with the decor and space of the restaurant. Goen Yakiniku is one of the many restaurants located in this Hwy 7 and Valleymede plaza. Luckily, we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking space in this usually sought-after space. It was rather quiet actually.
I liked the decor of the restaurant. It was so homey and warm. There were long metal tubes dangling on top of each table; the ones that are used at authentic Korean bbq restaurants.
Their menu was exhaustive and included the items in Chinese characters and poorly translated English (“rectum” is not the correct translation for “large intestine” XD). Their menu was very varied with so many types of beef, pork, organs, Korean classic dishes, and combo sets for dinners for 2, 4, or 6.
We ordered the wagyu beef, pork belly, stone bibimbap, vegetable pancake, and followed with an order of tenderloin.
The prices here are reasonable for one set and that’s because the quantity is small. The quantity is small because they actually serve good quality meats! Every meat we had that night was very good quality.
After we ordered, the sole server of the restaurant turned on our grill and instructed us that the meats would cook for about a minute on each side. There was a handy hourglass on the side of the table that we could use too. It was so cute. There were also a variety of condiments such as sesame seeds.
We were given soy sauce and lemon juice (lemon juice for Japanese bbq was new to me) for dipping sauces too. The wooden plates were so cute.
The wagyu was so tender and soft yet a tad chewy. It definitely was one of the better wagyus I’ve had in Toronto. (The pieces are also a bit on the small side.) The wagyu was freshly seasoned with pepper and seasoning at our table.
I loved the pork belly! It was nicely fatty but a tiny sliver of meat but so nicely marinated. The texture was delicious. We weren’t sure if the lettuce on the table was romaine, so we avoided it altogether (thanks romaine lettuce recall).
The bibimbap was assembled in a nice hot stone pot which the server then mixed together for us. It was a good bibimbap and not spicy at all despite the deep red colour.
The vegetable pancake was so good! This was my first time having a vegetarian Korean pancake (usually I’ll get it with the seafood). This was nicely fried and crispy. Yummy 🙂
We ordered a set of tenderloin. This set was again small, but the quality was amazing. It wasn’t rough at all and so tender!!! Tender tenderloin :9
At the end of the meal, we were surprised with a small container of almond tofu. This had a flakey jello-like consistency. I would have preferred a more creamy mousse-like texture, but that’s just my preference.
I would return for more Japanese stovetop bbq here! Interestingly, the server spoke Mandarin but also wrote down our order in Japanese letters.
(Pictures will come eventually, but my new plan is to put up the text version of the blogs first as I still try to finish publishing my backlog posts from my trip first.)