With so many small Korean restaurants in North York, it’s always a little difficult trying to decide where to eat. One evening, my cousin brought me to Cho Won Family Restaurant, located in the plaza at Yonge and Drewery across from Food Basics. Without being brought here, I’d never know of its existence.
What a little hidden gem! Sure, it’s a no-frills restaurant which doesn’t exactly scream “clean” but their food really made up for it.
We were served the usual banchan dishes (kimchi, bean sprouts, etc), none of which were anything to write home about. They were served at the same time as our main dishes but I wish they were served right after we ordered so we had something to snack on while waiting for our main dishes.
Since it was freezing out, we wanted a hot soup and decided on the Dduk Mandoo Gook – rice cake and dumpling soup ($8.99). It was a substantial portion of light broth which was seasoned to my liking (not too salty). The soup contained dumplings which, while weren’t mind-blowing, were solid.
Next up was the Kan Poong Gi – deep fried chicken and hot pepper with sweet and sour sauce ($14.99). While the price tag is high for a Korean dish, the portion is enormous. The three of us kept eating and eating and still had a third of it leftover!
Size aside, this has got to be one of the best sweet and sour chicken dishes I’ve ever had! They weren’t too heavy on the batter and the sweet and sour sauce was perfect. A must-order at Cho Won!
My cousin wanted to come here because he had a craving for the Boribap + Dwen Jang Chigae + Godeunguh – steamed barley rice, soy bean paste stew and marinated mackerel($7.99). He kept talking about this barley dish which I’ve never heard of or seen at other Korean restaurants.
The first part of the dish is basically a bibimbap which uses a barley instead of rice. Like a bibimbap, you mix up the veggies, barley and hot sauce. I have to say, I actually enjoyed the barley a lot since it gave the dish a nice texture that you don’t get with rice. So, if you know any other Korean restaurants that serve this, please let me know!
This combo also came with a piece of marinated mackerel, something that I haven’t seen at other Korean restaurants either…but that could be due to the fact that my eyes only look for my go-to’s on menus like pork bone soup. I’m not sure what it was marinated in but it tasted quite nice, especially with a bite of plain barley. Just watch out for the bones – there’s a lot of them!
I can’t really comment on the soy bean paste stew since I’m not really a fan of it in general and this one didn’t change my mind. My cousin and his wife finished it up quickly so I think they enjoyed it.
Like I said, it’s a no-frills restaurant but their food hits the spot – their Korean sweet and sour chicken in particular, is the best I’ve had to date. I wouldn’t drive out of my way to come here but if you’re in the area with a Korean food craving, Cho Won Family Restaurant is a good bet.
At a glance:
• Located in a plaza at Yonge and Drewery/Cummer
• No-frills Korean restaurant; not the cleanest but the food is solid
• Best Kan Poong Gi (sweet and sour chicken) I’ve had
• Really enjoyed the bibimbap with barley
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 1 star