Saturday, May 02, 2009
Get Thee to Uh Wool Lim!
When I find something I like, I stick with it. More specifically, I tend to return to my favorite restaurants over and over again. That's why you'll never find me doing a restaurant-a-day thing here at A Man's Gotta Eat. Hell, I'm lucky to get around to a half-dozen different restaurants a month; and with penny-pinching at a fever pitch these days, that trend is likely to continue.
One restaurant I have visited several times in the last few months is Uh Wool Lim Korean Restaurant in Antioch. Not only is the food incredible there, the service is impeccable. Indeed, the folks who own and work in the place are some of the most gracious hosts I've ever encountered in a restaurant.
A big bunch from my workplace went to Uh Wool Lim on a recent Friday night. I was the first to arrive. I told 'em that there were 12 coming, and they immediately started moving tables to accommodate our large group. As soon as we were all there, and had an adult beverage in hand, we were served two large plates of complimentary fried dumplings.
The dumplings were filled with slivers of juicy pork, and they were served with a spicy soy-sauce based dipping sauce. It took all of about six minutes for all traces of the dumplings to vanish.
When the dumplings were gone, banchan came to our table(s). If you've never been to a Korean restaurant, banchan - sometimes spelled panch'an - refers to small dishes of pickled vegetables, potato pancakes, and steamed rice which are served alongside Korean entrées. (At one point, I counted 18 banchan bowls spread out in front of my buds and me!)
At Uh Wool Lim, kimchi is the banchan dish that stands out most (see oval dish in foreground). In fact, it might very well be the best kimchi I have ever had -- and I've had kimchi in several different Korean restaurants, as well as homemade kimchi that was made by a friend's Korean grandmother.
Now, for those who've never heard of kimchi, here's what it 'tis: fermented cabbage that's been seasoned with chili peppers and salt -- and in some instances brined seafood. Uh Wool Lim's kimchi is of the non-seafood variety and is very, very spicy. Of course, that's alright by me ... and it goes a long way toward explaining why I like it so much.
When it came entrée-orderin' time, I decided I wanted me a spicy soup. I settled on the yook gae jang, which is a stew of spicy shredded beef, clear noodles, egg, bracken fern (talk about authentically Korean!) and green onions.
The soup you see in that picture is one of the best soups, ethnic or domestic, I have ever had. Ever. I asked for it to be "super spicy," and that's just how it was delivered. The heat, however, was not of the sweat-inducing variety; instead, it was the kind of heat that takes a moment to make itself known on the back of your tongue before settling in for a while. In addition, there was lots of beef in my soup, and every - and I mean every - sliver was as tender as butter. That's no lie.
Hopefully, you're now thinking about when you're gonna get out to Antioch to visit Uh Wool Lim. If you need further convincing, check out this simmering pot of squid, shrimp, mussels, tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, radishes, watercress, zucchini, green onions and hot peppers (Hae Mool Tang):
Four of my co-workers ordered the seafood soup you see pic above, and it was brought to the table in a large pot to simmer on a mini hot-plate. I sampled it, and I know what I'm by-God ordering the next time I visit Uh Wool Lim.
Who's going wit' me?!
Uh Wool Lim Korean Restaurant
940 Richards Road
Antioch, TN 37013