Price Range: $10 – 25
I had first heard about this restaurant when I saw on my facebook newsfeed that a friend’s family had opened this new Korean restaurant in Kingston. Since it was located across the street from Hwaki, a popular Korean-Japanese restaurant, I wanted to try PodoNamu to see how it compares.
Going inside, PodoNamu has an interesting blend of modern furniture with some traditional furnishings. It didn’t look like a restaurant that serves Asian food but rather like a coffee shop. It was really quiet when I ate here since there was no ambient music and only a couple sitting in front. I did enjoy the little details, from the careful way the napkins were folded and their use of metal chopsticks instead of the disposable ones.
Going with my friends A and N, who are regular Hwaki customers, I was interested in their opinions of the food.
PodoNamu’s menu selection is quite small, with all the basic Korean food and the prices are suitable for the student budget.
Like any Korean restaurant, PodoNamu came with side dishes and I quite liked the pickled radish leaves (at the front of the picture). My friends and I finished these pretty quickly and asked for refills. Unfortunately, the waitress may have forgotten, so we never actually got our refills.
I decided to order the Gamjatang ($10), the pretty standard pork bone soup. It came with a bowl of rice and though it was quite good, I thought it was a little spicy. The meat detached easily from the bone, there were these crunchy sesame seeds and green onion sprinkled on top, and kimchi underneath the bone. One quality I liked about this was that it actually tasted very homecooked, possibly because the soup base didn’t have MSG in it. The portion was also quite filling, so I didn’t finish it.
My friend, A, ordered the Bibimbap ($10), which came in a large bowl and has pretty standard ingredients. She said that there needs to be more meat and felt that Hwaki gave more beef. I think that given the cheap price, it was still quite a big portion!
N, my other friend, got the Dolsot Bibimbap ($12) because he was curious what the difference between this dish was compared to what A got. It seems to him that everything is exactly the same and for $2 extra, it comes in a sizzling stone pot. I think that when deciding between the Dolsot Bibimbap and the Bibimbap, you should probably just order the cheaper one.
Overall, my friends still like Hwaki more but I think that for a new restaurant, PodoNamu still has lots of room for improvement. In order to stay at par with the established Korean restaurants, I would suggest giving bigger portions, more side dishes, or free soup to begin with, just to set up a loyal customer base. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for the cheap prices and ‘homecooked’ meals.
Until next time,