Friday, May 18, 2012

Bibim Bap House

(Second Review -- June 2012)

Bibimbap House, located at the old Smile BBQ location in Salem, Oregon, serves Korean and Japanese dishes. Their grand opening was May 1, and I stopped by during their second week of business.

I walked into a clean, bright establishment. An older woman, who I think could be the owner, greeted me with a smile. A couple of younger ladies doubled as cashiers and servers, while a male sushi chef stayed hard at work.

I'll admit, I wasn't completely hungry, and I actually had two lunches prior to this. But my stomach wasn't waving the white flag. If my wallet had a head, it would be sulking, crying, and pleading for mercy. I, as the wallet's executioner, ordered food anyway.

The Happy Bibim Bap lunch special ($7.95) includes seasoned vegetables, choice of meat (default is beef, but you can likely ask for chicken or more veggies), and a fried, overeasy egg, all served over a bed of white rice. To get brown rice on any dish, it's $1 more.

Happy Bibim Bap
(Bibim Bap House)
Cutting into the yolk!
When I cut into the egg, that runny yellow yolk oozed out all over the meat, veggies, and rice. While that's a win by itself, I had to enjoy the rest of this awesome dish. The tender meat was seasoned well, while the various vegetables made my gluttonous adventure at least a little healthier. Perfectly cooked white rice.

Although there really was no spicy option for this meal, they gave me extra sauce at no charge. It's basically gochujang (fermented Korean red chili paste) rendered into liquid form. Delicious with the bibim bap. Yeah, I could literally drink that stuff. Am I also a spicoholic? (Yes.)

I enjoyed some kimchi, miso soup, and broccoli appetizers. I don't think the kimchi is fresh; looked pretty limp to me. The miso soup was OK, but perhaps a bit on the watery side for me.

Broccoli, kimchi, and gochujang "spicy" sauce
Miso soup, not stirred
Soup after stirring
Finally, I noshed on a spicy tuna sushi roll ($5.99). Really just the standard ahi with spicy sauce. Not a lot of spice for me, but considering it probably takes a superhot pepper to make me feel anything anymore, it's certainly fine for the average person to consume. I loved the tempura flakes sprinkled over the top.

Spicy Tuna Roll
(Bibim Bap House)
Right now, they are open Mon-Sat, 11 am to 9 pm. Lunch specials are served Mon-Fri, from 11 to 2. I'll be back to try something much spicier!

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