I’m a big fan of Korean food and have been for a long time. I have a close friend whose wife makes some of the best Kalbi I’ve ever had and while mine is not too bad I always take the opportunity to enjoy Lisa’s if given the chance.
I’ve been to a few Korean restaurants in Calgary and while some have been okay I’ve never really been too thrilled by what I’ve had. There have been some exceptions to this however and our recent meal at Sura is one of these.
Located on 4th Street NW and away from many of the more dining-centric areas of town this place has been on my must-try list for a while. There are some more highly regarded places around but the number of positive reviews I’ve read about Sura made it a shoe-in as the next Korean place I’d visit.
When we arrived I was surprised by just how much space they owners give to their customers. I’m used to small cramped tables that are very close to each other and this was not the case at all. The four of us had a nice sized table that was not right on top of the next one and the chairs were quite comfortable, even for a guy of my larger than average frame(among other things). Most places that receive good reviews are crowded so that they can seat as many as possible in what is normally not a large space. Not so here.
When our dining companions arrived we spent some time going over the menu which seemed to be a nice variety of Korean dishes that included some of the more popular ones like Bulgogi but also some that I’d not heard of before. In the end it was the BBQ trio that won all of us over as a main and since it feeds two we ordered a pair of these.
To start of with we asked for an order of fried tofu, some of the sweet chili wings and the pot stickers. we enjoyed all of the appies very much but would have preferred the wings came with the others instead of just prior to the mains.
The sauce on the chicken wings was something else and I’m guessing its made with honey, it was thick, sweet and nicely spiced. The wings themselves were coated in a fairly hard batter that was very crisp and made for a very enjoyable start to the meal. I sampled the pot stickers our friends ordered and found them interesting. They were different from those at Chinese or Japanese restaurants and I rather enjoyed this fact. The fried tofu was also tasty and the sauce it came with had a pleasant flavour.
Soon after the wings arrived at the table we were given the many side dishes that accompany the meal. This is the norm at Korean restaurants and I’d expected them, but I was happy to see some that I’d never tried before, such as the potato salad and lotus root. These samplings of many different flavours and textures are one of the highlights of a Korean meal for me and the fact I got to try some new ones made it even better.
The BBQ trio comes with spicy pork Bulgogi, Kalbi and chicken each in its own unique and tasty sauce. I’d had the pork in the form of a cook at home version from a local Korean meat shop and this tasted exactly the same as that delicious meal. The kalbi had a unique flavour that was not like any I’d tried or made before, it was not as sweet as most and seemed to use different seasonings. I really liked the difference and would enjoy trying this again. The chicken was tender and moist with a milder sauce that the pork which worked very nicely.
I was also happy to have lettuce and rice brought to the table with which to wrap up the meats, this is something that is sorely missing from some of the Korean places I’ve visited in the past and the authenticity is good to see. They also provided us with shear so that we could snip the kalbi into manageable pieces, this to is not always the case and is quite welcome since it’s not easy to eat the ribs otherwise.
The staff at Sura were attentive and friendly, we never had to wait for them to come by and ask if we needed anything throughout the meal and they were very patient with us when we had not yet decided on our meal because we were too busy chatting.
With some of the best Korean food we’d tried in Calgary and good service Sura is sure to be a place we will visit again when we feel the need for some good food in a very pleasant location.