We headed out to the newly reopened KOREANA for lunch today (they recently opened after being closed for a fire a year ago). Located on the corner of Prospect and Main?, near central square. This so-called "best Korean in Boston" had been a long-time favorite lunch place for my department, so there was obviously much anticipation to try the new version. I won't try to match Limster's evocative comments (linked below), but here are a few impressions.
Unfortunately, the most notable for me was the extremely poor service. I got stuck in a meeting and so arrived 30 minutes after everyone else, but my friends still hadn't received any water, nor had anyone taken their orders. It took another 10 minutes after I arrived. Seemed very understaffed, despite the restaurant being only 1/3 or so full.
I had the nigiri sushi special (which is probably the first time I've had sushi in a Korean restaurant--I still think this is weird), which was pretty good for $9. Not very big pieces, but the yellowtail was melt-in-your-mouth yummy and converted it from "OK" to "pretty good". Also, like Limster, I enjoyed the seaweed salad, both mine and someone elses (not the Star Market stuff the nearby Korea Garden serves).
Others in the group seemed to be generally happy with their meals. The Bi Bim Bop looked good, although I didn't see a lot of meat in it. A sushi bento box made me wish I had ordered it instead. However, several said their tempura was decidedly "cold and old", very unsatisfying.
Unfortunately, we didn't try the BBQ.
I think the decor is greatly improved, with nice big windows along two sides (unfortunately, Prospect Ave isn't much of a view) and a nice open feel to the place. The sushi bar and drinks bar are along the back wall. I did find it a bit weird that they now have big old photos of Boston on the walls--replete with bowlers and top hats--like something you'd see in a pub with retro 1920's pretensions. Didn't really feel right in a Korean restaurant, but whatever. Actually, the whole place looks decidedly un-Korean.
Anyway, a pretty good meal, but I'll have to try it a few more times before making up my mind.
BTW, also had dinner for eight at the CAPITAL GRILLE on Newbury last night (after checking out the old recs on this board). Started with a pineapple infusion martini, which I highly recommend (although one could easily chug six of these in five minutes and then slowly slide under the table--so beware!). Then, Filet Mignon or 24oz porterhouses all around. I had the latter, which was exactly med rare and a very tasty piece of meat. Sides were Sam's Mashed (boring), asparagus spears with Hollandaise (predictable). I also had the lobster bisque special, which was lovely and intense and for which I had to fend off other's spoons, and a refreshing tomato and sweet onion salad in a light vinaigrette (a rec from this board). Key lime pie was a nice concluding touch and they also have a good selection of Scotch etc. (as you might expect for an "in town with an expense account" kinda place). 18 year old McCallan received notable praise.
The highlight for me was four bottles of mind-blowing Chateau de Beaucastel Chateaneuf-Du-Pape, which was not outrageously marked up at $112/bottle. A lovely wine to go with a serious hunk of beef. Unfortunately, when I pointed to it on the wine list, I was kinda hoping the CEO-type we were with would just spring for it, but that didn't happen, so I think I've blow my eating out budget for a while.
Not much of an atmosphere, unless you like the "loud business man in a suit with painting from the 1800s on the wall" look. Unfortunately, I think we were the actually loudest and most drunk table (and half a dozen arm wrestling matches probably didn't help either). If you were there, I apologize for my uncivilized companions (I would never stoop to arm wrestling in an elegant restaurant, although betting on the outcome is a different matter).
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