Everybody has a list of restaurants that they refer to when the question of “where shall we eat out tonight?” comes up. Old Strathcona’s Lee House is one of those restaurants on my list. Whenever I’m in doubt, or just not feeling up to review or try a new, up and coming shop, Joe and I go to Lee House. It’s one of our favourites for “hotpot” stews and the all notorious KFC, Korean fried chicken. Wing Chicx and Coco Deep Fried Chicken may have increased the Korean chicken popularity, but Lee House was one of the first, and one of oldest Korean restaurants in Edmonton.
At time of writing, the Old Strathcona location is undergoing a facelift, but have no fear. They’ve opened up another shop, this time right on 97 St Chinatown across from the anchoring Lucky 97 Supermarket. It’s even closer to us now. I couldn’t be happier! The new Lee House offers more BBQ items with stations at each table, something their original location did not. Currently, they are offering the full menu (plus new dishes) and an array of BBQ dishes. I was told that when they reopen their Old Strathcona location though, the menus will be different. Can’t wait to see two distinct spaces. For now though, here’s what Joe and I had last week at their grand opening night.
Their menu has gone through a nice overhaul, keeping their best dishes, new additions, BBQ items, and photographs. I love photographs… I took pictures of the full menu on my phone, you can view it at Urbanspoon.
To start, we had the “Gang Jung Chicken”, crispy-fried chicken thigh strips and rice cakes, tossed in a honey, soy, sesame glaze and topped with green onions. Joe and I had recently traveled to Seoul and one my most memorable meals was “cup chicken”, a cup of deep fried chicken pieces, crispy rice cakes, tossed in with tater tots, mixed with a sweet spicy glaze and mayo sauce. Oh my God. I had seconds. And thanks to the GPS tracking on my phone, I know exactly where to find it. I’ll eventually post my Seoul trip one day… it’s a big project. Anyways, sidetracking. So that’s why we ordered the dish. Flavours were there although I wished there was an option of a sweet spicy sauce. The kitchens and staff seemed frantically busy that night so the rice cakes were a little on the chewy, overcooked side and were beginning to harden by the time I got into the dish. Otherwise, it would have been a home run! You’ll notice that wrote “I” got into the dish. Joe’s “allergic” (questionable…) to peanuts. We don’t normally make a point to asking if dishes have peanuts on them but we probably should. There’s peanuts all over this dish. Beware!
Joe wanted to order our usual stew again, but I put my foot down. We need to try the meats and BBQ! That is, after all, what the location will be specializing in. We can always to go the Old Strathcona location once it opens up for the stew! We’re not the biggest meat eaters so it was safer for us to order only one kind of meat for the BBQ station and one sizzling hot plate dish. The “Spicy Pork Loin Bulgogi” came out piping hot, thinly sliced and tender, and marinated in a sweet ginger sesame soy sauce. Yuuuuum, and not overly spicy!
Our BBQ item: “L.A. Kalbi” arrived at the same time but took a few minutes for it to be cooked. A traditional marinade of Asian pear, soy, honey, garlic and sesame, these were soooooo good. Honestly, how can you go wrong with short ribs. All BBQ items (with the exception of sizzling hot plate dishes) come with a variety of sides: assorted lettuce greens, miso paste, raw garlic, Korean chill paste, and an onion salad to cut the heat. Nom nom nom. I need to go back ASAP to try the “Won Kalbi”, a bone-in ribeye filet, and the pork belly. I have a feeling the “L.A. Kalbi” is a winner though. The meat is cooked for you, our server coming around to adjust the heat and check up on it regularly. Seasoned veterans I’m sure can BBQ the meats themselves though and they wouldn’t mind.
Other menu items that look promising: an array of jeon, a traditional savoury egg, flour batter mixture with vegetables, with or without meat or seafood; a fried chicken lunch box with a choice of their amazing kam poong gi (fried chicken balls), or Lee House chicken (KFC); and some stews and soups that I swear weren’t on the menu before… like the rice cake pot stew. Drools. As per usual, a variety of banchan (side dishes) – kimchi, bean sprouts, pickled radish, spinach – came with our meal and a bowl of rice each.
Looking forward to the re-opening of their Old Strathcona location and can’t wait to see the two locations of Lee House serve different menus! I didn’t think I would be craving Korean food this soon after my trip to Seoul, but boy. Lee House sure hits the spot. Congratulations to Lee House on their expansion, I will be back soon!Lee House Korean BBQ
9711 – 107 Ave