Excellent and Community-Minded
Lee House Korean Restaurant has recently opened up in Chinatown, expanding from its original location near Whyte Avenue. Given its reputation there, I looked forward to visiting this new one in our local neighbourhood.
Across from Lucky 97, Lee House is tastefully decorated with Asian wall hangings over a clean peach-coloured decor. About a dozen tables fill the place, but it’s not crowded. Each table has a centre barbecue for selected dishes and everything is spotless.
As I awaited my luncheon dining companion, I enjoyed some delicious Korean barley tea, light and warm. Soft drinks, beer, and Asian liquors were also available.
The menu was most impressive (the menu designer’s name is even included!), with several sections: rice, barbecue, pot stew, pancake, deep fried chicken, bokkeum on hot plate, and noodles. Most main dishes were around $11-17, but some specialty plates were in the $20-30 range. Almost all items were tantalizingly described and the menu even included step-by-step directions on how to cook and eat from the barbecue at your table. Gluten-free items were numerous and clearly marked.
With assistance from the server, my co-diner and I opted to share three dishes (she talked us down from four): the staple of Korean cooking, bulgogi beef (the spicy variant); tofu stew; and kimchi pancake. This was served with all the traditional sides: cabbage and radish kimchi, bean sprouts, marinated hot peppers, and rice, all at no extra charge (as it should be).
The food came quickly, steaming and boiling hot. The matching ceramic table wear added a classy element to the meal. The server took great care to present all the dishes, as a good host would.
The taste was clean, pure, fresh, with the right degree of taste combinations. The bulgogi meat was tender, cooked to perfection with crispy piping hot vegetables. The stew was not overly tasty given its tofu base and the texture improved when eaten with the rice. The pancake was pleasantly crispy on the outside and full of flavourful ingredients on the inside. Overall, the food was outstanding. For two of us the bill, with a reasonable tip, was less than $50.
Lee House is very community-minded, offering a cuisine exchange, interactive learning, and vocational mentorship, all things that should go over well in Boyle Street and McCauley. Details are in their menu and also on their website: leehousefamily.com.
Lee House is a pleasant addition to Chinatown, offering a variety of authentic Korean dishes in a welcoming, pleasant, clean, and lovely atmosphere.
John lives in Boyle Street.