Since there are few Korean restaurant options in the Detroit area (many of which were started by the same person) I was glad to see a new option pop up a couple months ago--- E.mart, on the northwest corner of Big Beaver and Dequindre. The food counter (with tables) in the front of this store has roughly seven dishes on offer at any given time.
I’ve tried four dishes, and they’ve all been respectable and prepared to order with reasonably fresh ingredients. (I had been worried, since the veggies in the Produce department often aren’t at their pinnacle of freshness, regardless of the good variety…). There is a very spot-on description of the grocery section at Yelp (by a girl from Clawson), but I don’t think I’m allowed to link to it.
Back to the food counter. The Bibimbab “Item #9” is a good dish for the first time visitor. $6.99. It comes with a side of cabbage kimchi, but the other banchan type items are already included in the bibimbap; the marinated sprouts and various julienned veggies, etc.. The bowl contains a decent quantity of beef, and it was tender and freshly cooked. Also included was a partially fried egg. If you don’t like runny whites, you may want to say so when ordering. Spicy bean paste is served only on request.
My one slight complaint is that tea is not served free. One must buy it from a “unique” vending machine requiring exactly two quarters.
Another winner is Jeyuk Bokum item #11 for $7.99. This is thin sliced pork stir fried with chili paste and onions. Served with rice. I also tried the Jampong #3, for $6.99, a semi-spicy noodle soup in a mussel seafood broth. The seafood was slightly funky for me, but the other customers seemed to think it was just like back in the old country. All dishes mentioned make for a full, hearty dinner-for-one, assuming one is not a pig.
Finally, a popular dish was the standard Bulgoki Dupbab #12 for $7.99. What you see in the picture is what you get. Pretty good. Note that there are no English descriptions next to the pictures at the counter, and questions posed to the pleasant cashier prove discombobulating. Also, it is cash only. So, you just need to be prepared to go with the flow at this place.
If you consider middle class Korean housewives to be of good scenery, then you should appreciate the atmosphere. E.mart is saving these ladies a traffic-y trip up to Rochester Rd. where the longstanding Korean grocers reside, as well as offering them this good food counter, unavailable elsewhere. Check it out.
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