We were looking for a get-together location on New Year’s Eve, when we decided that since both of our families like Korean food, it’d be good to let Ms Baker try it for the first time too. Houston’s West side houses many a place for a good bulgogi, concentrating on the section of Long Point that’s sandwiched between Gessner and Blalock, but we set our mind on Korea Garden. Half of us had been here several times, and we didn’t want any adventure on Ms Baker’s first impression, she’s a conservative. 🙂
It turned out her very first impression was curiosity: how did they manage to section 7 equal slices of the haemul pajeon (해물 바전)? It was a good jeon, however lay on the soggy side if compared to pancakes at Secret Garden and Casserole House. The banchan selection included some of our favorites: potato, seaweed, and sliced eomuk (어묵), although none appealed to the Americans at the table. The kimchis had quite a bit of chili, though.
So did the dak bokgeum (닭 볶 음 stir-fried chicken) that my dad fell for. That sneaky heat wouldn’t hit you right away. Only half way through the heap of bird and veggie did he turn to my mom and me with a tilted smile and a slight head shake: too spicy.
The staff was sweet, like this lady who mixed bibimbap (비빔밥) at amazing speed. Her wrist spun like a cotton candy machine. I don’t know how Ms Baker knew that dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비뱜밥) is what a first timer should get, of if she knew, but I took it as a good sign that she scooped every last grain of rice.
So here we sat in a room sectioned off from the others by shoji screens and chatted from 7:15 to 9:30 about all things from Jerry Brown to TiVo. We must have been the second to last to leave Korea Garden that night. Ms Baker’s first impression of Korean food was heartily filled with laughters. The price was hefty, as most Korean dinners are, but the family bonding between friends is priceless.
Address: Korea Garden Restaurant
9501 Long Point Rd, Ste. Z
Houston, TX 77055
Dinner for seven: $157.88