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Review: Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food, Baldwin Street’s two-in-one Korean restaurant

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

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Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food  1 star½
1 Baldwin St., 647-748-0083
yakitoribar.ca

Restaurateur Sang Kim helped bring clubby Asian food to Toronto in the early oughties at Blowfish and Ki. Now he’s gone lo-fi with his two-in-one spot on Baldwin: Yakitori Bar, specializing in Korean kebabs, occupies the front of the room, while Seoul Food, a takeout stand, is in the back. In the narrow, barnboard-bedecked space, Kim greets 20-somethings, food bloggers and grandparents with the same garrulous hospitality. The playlist, which includes Michael Jackson and Guns ’n’ Roses, makes an anachronistic accompaniment to the muted K-pop videos flickering on 80-inch screens. Chef Shin Aoyama works magic with grilled kebabs; our favourites include tender, deliciously fatty pork belly and plump, salty scallops. A tasting flight brings three batches of kimchee—one made that day, one made two weeks earlier and one made three months earlier—and showcases the pickle’s evolution from fresh and pungent and to mellow and smooth. Squash duk bok ki, a mash of rice, fish cakes and chili paste baked in a buttercup squash under a blanket of melted mozzarella, sounds compelling on paper, but tastes bland. Takeout bibimbap from Seoul Food lacks the caramel crunch of the traditional hot stone bowl, but draws plenty of flavour from pickled carrots, spinach and huge dollops of chili paste.

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  • disqus

    ***** I tried both places multiple times due to my foreign co-workers who wanted to try asian food***

    Please please stay away from the Yakitori Bar! The owner (host) is an older man with tortoise frames who creeps on any female customers. He tries ti take pictures on in his iphone and then asks for your #… The food was not on par with other korean style places with the mussels, spicy rice cakes and udon soup all being room temperature and bland…

    Seoul Food was not bad, but the bibimbap was again overpriced and not well done..

  • E.Brown

    I find your comments a little over the top . First of all, Sang Kim is a well known Restaurateur and Author in Toronto. He has helped develop some of the best restaurant concepts in the city.

    As an event planner I have worked with Sang for many years and always found him to be very professional. I have taken many groups there in the short time they have been open and food and service has always been top notch.

    Secondly, anyone who knows Sang knows that he does not own a cell phone – he is one of those rare breeds who does not let technology consume his life – therefore you claim of him snapping photos and asking for numbers is highly impossible.

    You really should get your facts straight before taking poke shots at a hard working restaurant owner’s reputation. As for the bibimbap being overpriced ?? Give your head a shake it’s $6.50…have you been to McDonald’s lately ??? Sounds more to me like you are either a disgruntled employee or a jealous restaurant owner….Grow Up !

  • Hj

    dude, sorry if I offended you. It wasn’t the owner doing that. It was me…my confession the day…haha I thought no one would notice. I like the type of lady customers who are regular at this restaurant. I guess pretty and charming women have good taste for delicious food and good service!

  • Stefan K.

    I have been there many times and found nothing but the best service and Sang to be hospitable and professional. His food is on point and never had any complaints. The crowd is a mash of students and professionals and yes, there is Kpop playing in the background. I recommend Yakatori for anyone looking for fresh Korean Pub style food and great, friendly service.

 

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