Monday, February 23, 2009
Nam Kang - Maryland Ave, Baltimore
Yesterday I was desperately craving some Korean food and the type of love in my gut that only kimchee can provide. Initially I had wanted to put together a full scale Korean BBQ trip, but since no one was really available to commit to the gastronomic undertakings of eating Korean table-top BBQ with me (I have a slight tendency to try to order everything on the menu.) So with the desire to fill my cravings but the need to eat a sensible meal, Kim and I decided to take a seat at Nam Kang, which has become our go-to eatery of choice for Korean food in Baltimore.
If you have never been to Nam Kang, the restaurant is open until 4am every night except for Mondays. Almost every experience I have had eating here has come after a full night out in Federal Hill or Canton, so this was a nice time to try out the food without any liquid fueled hunger advising my order.
The Banchan (side dish) assortment brought to the table with every Korean meal was especially delicious on this particular night, and the liberal use of spices made for a very nice warm-up on a chilly February night.
I ordered a variation of Bi Bim Bap that featured short ribs. For the uninitiated, Bi Bim Bap is a a rice dish that comes out to your table sizzling and spattering in a hot stone pot. The rice is topped with various veggies and meat which all get mixed together, topped with a chili sauce, and gormandized down my gullet. This is one of my favorite dishes to eat when it is cold outside and Nam Kang did not dissapoint. If I had any type of gripe it would be that the chili sauce provided was a little on the mild side and didnt give the dish the total amount of kick I might have wanted.
Kim decided to order a pork and tofu dish thats name totally escapes me. The dish was served with a miriad of veggies and even some parts that I couldn't identify. The use of spice and and seasoning in the dish was fantastic and it is certainly something I would try again.
All of our food was washed down with some Korean OB Beer, and of course, a nice robustly flavored bottle of Soju; the omnipresent dinner table accompaniment of Korean meals. It has a slightly sweeter taste than vodka, and is only about half as strong. It is tradition for diners to pour small cups of this for each other throughout the meal.
Our server on this particular visit seemed fairly indifferent with the fact that we were even there, but the food and drink were delivered promptly, and the overall experience was assistive enough for us. I don't think that there are too many diners at this type of resturaunt that go in expecting a 5 star service experience anyway. I can only imagine what some of these poor waitresses must have to endure at times when the drunk crowd rolls in at 2am.
Nam Kang is one of my favorite places to eat in Baltimore. There are certainly better places to get Korean in the area, but this makes a great introduction to the world of Korean cuisine if you would like to introduce those not familiar with this type of fare.
World of Eats Rating - 7/10