Faline, Daniel, and I met up for dinner on Sunday night and we opted for something different than our usual Indian or Thai cuisine. We chose to go to Bloor Jinmirak, a favourite hangout of Faline’s in the Korean Business Neighbourhood at Bloor and Christie. I remember going with Wendy for dinner there to meet Faline and her friend Gail in 2001 prior to Daniel’s arrival to Toronto and I remember enjoying the food and service very much. With those cool Japanese closed-off booths and that big heavy wood door, all I remember was the marvellous combinations of little side dishes that really satisfied my apetite. I do not remember eating a large meal, rather snacking on small dishes.
On this occasion, 4 years later, the place still looks the same. With all meat dishes, I was pleasantly relieved to find that the staff were flexible. They mentioned in their broken English that any meat (beef, chicken, pork, fish, seafood) could be removed. I spoke slowly as I ordered the Den Jang Chige ($6.99) ( a tofu stew with squash, onion, mushroom, and carrot) in a delicious tomato broth. The dish came with pork but I asked to spare the poor pig. The dish was aromatic, and was accompanied with a free side order of white rice and was served piping hot in a sizzling stone bowl. I made sure to speak slowly and repeated, no animal products please. This means no fish, no chicken, no beef, no pork, no animals in this dish please. She assured me that this dish was vegetarian. Faline ordered Jam Bong, a HUGE bowl of soup with noodles and seafood. The dish contained a thick tomato broth and had squid, shrimp, many vegetables, in a spicy tomato broth. She loved it and it was only $7.99. Daniel ordered the Dol Sot Bibm Bap, which was comprised of shredded beef, vegetables, rice, a fried egg on top, and the Korean bbq sauce in a sizzling stone bowl. One of the best dishes Daniel claims he has ordered.
Half of Bloor Jinmirak’s menu includes a large variety of sushi dishes. The sushi bar serves a variety of sushi types ($9.95-$14.95) and patrons can order sushi as complete meals or a la carte ($3.00-$5.95). In addition to sushi, tempera dishes ($7.95-$35.00) and dumplings (steamed or fried) are also available ($3.99-$7.00), but unfortunately, veggie dumplings are not available.
The fun part of this place are the side dishes. The waitress brought little dishes of an assortment of spicy appetizers. My all time favourite appetizer is Kimchi – pickled cabbage in a spicy red pepper sauce (I think), YUMMA!. Other appetizers include water chestnut jelly in a hot pepper sauce, pickled radish, thick and crunchy, in that roasted red pepper sauce, bamboo shoots, seaweed in a hot pepper sauce, spinach (or parsley) in a hot red pepper sauce, thin, fine rice noodles, and black sweet beans, which are super crunchy and sweet.
The bill for 3 people was only $23.00 and we were stuffed. Food is very fresh, piping hot, very spicy, very affordable, and thankfully all of the dishes can be made vegetarian. Portions are huge, service is stellar, and they accept all cards, including Interac–a no bullshit kind of place!