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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Swish by Han :: Modern Korean

swish swish swish!

When I met up with one of my oldest friends, we really debated where to go eat. We always get Korean food - so we decided to do something different for once. However, neither of us wanted a burger...Greek food...Italian food...and our hunger pangs got so impatient that we decided to just go for the usual. But then we realized that Koreatown was just too far! We wouldn't survive! The hunger! Oh no!
Then I recalled a visit a visit, long ago, to Swish with a fellow food-blogging friend. Even though I wasn't particularly impressed that night, it was the closest Korean option that I could think of so we made our way over. It would have been faster to hop onto the subway to Koreatown because we ended up getting lost in the PATH. Oh PATH...our love-hate relationship continues. Looking back, the pictures actually make me laugh - we used our Blackberries to shine light onto the food to try to help him take photos for his food blog.

We started with a soju mohito, which was actually quite pleasant. I'd like to try their other drinks. From there, we had a quick chat with the waiter, who I remembered from my last visit from his distinctive glasses, and made a couple of choices...

Verdict: Modern Korean Win
Meal: Dinner
Price: $20
Lobster Bibimbap ($15)

The lobster bibimbap was fantastic - crispy and sizzling rice on the bottom, fernbrake and fiddle heads, and lots of pepper paste.

He left the bottle of gochujang (pepper paste), and we promptly added more to satisfy our Korean tastebuds. The lobster meat was tender and delicious. This brought my love for bibimbap to a whole new level. Yum! If only it wasn't twice the price as Hana Korea and Etsu...I'd add it to my regular lunch nosh.
Beef Swish ($25)

This was a nice to share with my friend. Perfect for quickly cooking vegetables and "swishing" frozen rolls of beef while catching up. A simple broth bubbled in the copper pot and we cooked everything in two batches, giving the vegetables a head start.

It came with a little dish of soy sauce mixed with brown sugar, and I was pleased that he left the bottle of gochujang on the table. I squirted some onto my plate and mixed it with the soy sauce to make a spicy-sweet marinade to tip my beef and veggies. Best. Idea. Evar.

Ending with a big bowl porridge

As we finished the contents, one of the brothers came by with a bowl and giant wooden spoon. After scooping out the few vegetables left in the pot, he poured the rice and scallions into the broth and mixed it until it became a porridge. After two very flavourful items, this was a clean finish although for some spoonfuls I found myself mixing more of my soy sauce-brown sugar-pepper paste mixture with it to give it more kick.

Hm! The swish was much better than I remember. Overall, my impression of Swish has much improved - the service was quicker and the food was better. Granted, the first visit was very early in their career in Toronto and this time I had a moment to speak to one of the brothers about their history. It turns how that they're from the US and are no strangers to the restaurant business. It was quite pleasant to be served and have a chat with a key player in the business - thanks!

Verdict: Modern Korean Win
Meal: Dinner
Price: $20
Swish by Han on Urbanspoon


TorontoGalG said...

DINER BEWARE .... eat here at your own risk!

I am a regular at Swish by Han - the wait staff know me and greet me.  What happened on Friday night when I went to dine with my adult daughter was inexcusable.  To be clear - the food is palatable and the music is ear shattering.  The wait staff do not like customers, in fact they think being rude and out and out lying is good customer service.

My daughter cannot have spice and there is spice in some of the food. She inquired about the potstickers from a 'new' waitress - the lady who always wears a white top  (she is related to the chef and the owner) did not take our order.  She was assured there is no spice.  This is not something I have ever ordered so I didn't know.

The dish arrives in a sea of soy sauce and chili oil.  We call the waitress over - this time we get the 'lady in white' - the one who is always there - the one related to the owner.  My daughter explains the problem - she can't have spice, she asked before ordering, this has spice, she cannot eat it - what can be done.  Here the comes the unbelievable part - and I am paraphrasing but very close to what is actually said -

1. Oh! - the other waitress should have told you - I will go let her know that she made a mistake. She is new here and doesn't know the menu I guess.

2. It isn't that spicy - you can eat it anyway -  NOTE:  at this point we told her that chili oil makes my daughter ill - 

3. The chef is particular about his food and he makes no allowances for guest allergies, you get it the way he wants it and if it isn't what you can eat that is your problem.

We ate quickly and got the bill.  I live next door to this place and am fond of it, so I went back to see this was just some sort of  misunderstanding.  I get 'lady in white' - I am just a waitress I just work here it isn't my job to deal with upset customers'  I ask where is the manager, there is nobody here to talk to.  Shortly afterwards another lady appears claiming to be 'the manager'.  She listens to me.  I ask her isn't the 'lady in white' part of the ownership - yes she assures me she is.  She will pass on my comments.

No the bill was not adjusted - yes it was $7 and I paid for the dish, but that wasn't the point.

No-one apologized - the final suggestion as we were leaving - we should 'order' more carefully in the future.  If we can't eat something don't order it.

Okay folks - this is not acceptable by any means at any class of restaurant.  

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