It amazes me, that I’m still able to be amazed with what’s going on in Korea Town (Finch). It’s a real testament to the effort restaurants put in to give us a fantastic food experience. What makes me say this? Kookminhakgyo (국민학교) or literally translated National School is the next restaurant pushing the envelope in Toronto.
It’s summer time here in Toronto and I’m sure the students and office workers don’t want to go back to school just yet. So why bring us back to school when all I want to do is eat? Well their concept really takes it old school by showcasing records from a time that seems like ages ago. You’ll find the real Korean legends that only your friend’s mom knows about, and no kpop posters here. They have some American favourites as I’m sure some of the records made its way overseas in the 80s. To compliment this style they have a really old looking mini piano, which could very well be an antique, and a large chalkboard for a menu.
From what I hear, there’s usually a lineup in the evening especially on the weekends. When we arrived there were still 4-5 tables open and were seated immediately by the friendly staff. Everyone sits at a round table, similar to the ones at Miss Korea, only this time with a grill built in! Talk about BBQ on your mind because they stepped up!
We saw the first thing on the menu, 갈매기살 or pork skirts and just had to order it. I’ve been looking for this here for 3 years now but no one knew what I was talking about. In Korean 갈매기 is seagull but don’t worry, we’re definitely eating pork. Not all meats are created equal, and although it’s still pork, its very different from Samgyupsal or three layered pork. The cut changes the way its cooked and thus the taste, to a more chewy and moist combination. It holds the juices in much better than Samgyupsal which sometimes ends up being a little dry.
The employees were very kind, and probably didn’t realize my friend and I had lived in Korea before. They showed us how to mix the vegetables with the sauce, so that we could put it in a wrap once the meat was ready. It’s a little bit of an art if you’re used to having everything prepared. They also told us how to cook the meat without burning it.
The soybean stew was also good. Some places have it too salty, or not salty enough. Paired with the meat it made for a delicious combination. I can only ask what’s next for the restaurants in town, but since I procrastinated on this article, I actually already know what’s up and coming.
6016 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3W2
Phone: (647) 348-8890