Seoul House Royal
1215 W. Broadway
(604) 738 8285
Are there places in your hometown that you’ve passed by countless times, so many that its impossible to mentally tally, but have never had a real chance to check out for whatever reason. For me, as I traverse across West Broadway on an almost daily basis, it was the Seoul House Royal, until recently.
As our hardcore readers may note, Korean cuisine gets heavy rotation on Foodosophy. I can honesty go for the wide assortment of staples dishes in such restaurants on a regular basis. From steaming hot pots filled with spicy stews, to bowls of noodles or rice topped with various ingredients, simple grilled fish and rice combinations or do-it-yourself barbecue, its easy to say that I really enjoy my Korean food.
To begin, I hadn’t heard a lot of positives when it came to this restaurant. Perhaps it was the location, along a busy stretch of road and the inconveniences that go along with it – but I discovered they did have customer parking in an enclosed lot directly behind. Others have told me that the food hasn’t lived up to their expectations for some reason or another. Had it been around too long and gotten complacent, despite the fact that competition in the Korean restaurant genre is really heating up and there are many strong contenders in the Greater Vancouver Area now? Change in management that hadn’t made the necessary changes that had driven some customers away? Or were the rumors just simply that, and everything was fine and dandy? Frankly, these were all hearsay to me, so as always, I knew I had to check it out for myself.
A big bright menu booklet showed that here, as in other Korean places I am slowly discovering around town, Seoul House Royal is melding their offerings with both Japanese and Korean flavors. But I knew I was here for one thing and one thing only – the Korean-style barbecue. So the decision was made to get two orders of the premium beef short ribs. Those red rolls of marinated carpets of beef always look so tantalizing when brought to the table, and here was no exception. With the grill hot and ready on standby, the cooking began as did the flow of saliva from the ducts in my mouth.
My decision to not partake in my favorite beverage when eating barbecue – beer – perhaps played a factor in my lowered enjoyment of my meal as the night wore on and cut after cut of sliced beef was deposited into my belly, along with a heavy dose of cabbage kimchi, sprouts, daikon, cucumbers and potatoes… all coming from the fresh banchan. Not to mention the envelopes of lettuce, filled with sliced garlic and spicy kochujan that served as the most popular vessel for the barbecued beef as I ate. Beer & barbecue… its a habit I’ve picked up from many Korean barbecue meals in Seoul and Tokyo over the years, and I realize that having car to drive home can be a detriment to having a fully enjoyable meal. Who knew?
In my opinion, and a humble one in that, Seoul Royal House served its main purpose for me on this night. A relaxed, well paced meal of flavorful meat, with attentive service from a pair of waitresses who were not overly pushed by a large customer base that night, who brought out refills of the banchan and fresh grills for the barbecue. With its convenience location for me in Fairview, and a large selection of tables to choose from, I am registering this place as a place to note when I have the craving for barbecue again knowing that space will not be a factor in getting a table without a wait.