The experience

Ogre and I had some last minute shopping to do today and dumped the kids off at my mom’s house.  We picked them up around 5:30 for dinner.  All afternoon, I was craving Korean food and by the time we were headed out to dinner, I was starving!!  I searched the internet for some Korean places as there are three I know of in the Plano area and I didn’t want to go to the Asian shopping center ones tonight and we’ve already been to Jin Mi.  I happened upon some reviews for Kal Bee (or is it KalBee House?), but it was in Carrollton.  Ogre remarked that “it’s not that far.”  Fair enough, we loaded the kids up and drove “not that far.”  Or so we thought.  It was quite the trek across the metroplex as we ended up very far northwest!  Both of the kids had fallen asleep by the time we hit the restaurant. 

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Mina awoke when the car stopped (she hates to admit that she is tired or that she fell asleep). I joked with her that Papa and I had so much fun while they were sleeping.  She wasn’t amused.  Benji was not amused either and we prepared ourselves for grumpy Benji at dinner tonight.

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We were seated right away and perused the menu.  We tried to calculate if it would be better to order the all you can eat Kal Bi or to order Kal Bi and Bul Go Gi.  Well, we asked our waiter if they were going to charge us 11.95 for Benji also if we ordered the all you can eat and he said yes.  Yeah, definitely not worth it now and we were stretching to make it worth it with Mina participating!  So we went for the two dishes and Mina said she wanted tuna off the sushi menu.  At the last minute, we also ordered the Kimchee pancake and an order of noodles for Benji. 

We tried to keep the kids in a good mood as they were still a little dazed.  Benji was refusing to sit in his chair, which was fine for now.  He did not want me to hold him, he just wanted Papa.  Mina was busy drawing on the napkin to keep herself busy -she’s getting to be very resourceful!

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They started bringing out the banchan.  (My new word I learned by bloggin on here!).  It was an impressive display.  And last, but not least, they brought out a little pancake.  DOH!  I forgot that dinner comes with a complimentary smaller Kimchee pancake!!  Curses!!  Mina’s tuna also came out and she prepared her soy sauce and took a bite of her tuna.

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Next out came the rice.  My kids are so typically Asian and love rice.  I helped Mina with her chopsticks.  She is getting to be very good at using them.  In fact, tonight I think she might have surpassed my own personal level of chopsticks skill!!  I have such a hard time with picking up the rice!  She was doing great! 

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Now that food was here, Benji was ready to be back in his seat.  Benji held his own with the chopsticks, as well, but being the survivalist that he is, resorted to fisting the rice into his mouth!

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Then came our seven dollar unnecessary pancake that I squinted at with disdain.  Oh well.  Ogre thought it was great and helped himself to a couple of pieces.

We were all excited to see the server bring out the beef to cook.  Just in time to calm the increasingly fussy Benji!.  While that was cooking, Benji’s noodles came out and he took a few bites but did not seem to be very thrilled with this dish.  In fact, a very short while later he indicated that he was done and wanted out of his chair.  Ogre gave in once Benji said, “uh uh ee.  PEEZ!”  Who can resist a tiny voice pleading please??  So out of his seat he came to sit on Ogre’s lap again.  He was somewhat enthralled with the grill, so at least he wasn’t being to noisy.

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I had to ask to be sure that the meat was ready to eat.  She said it was.  Problem was, Ogre has never mastered the art of eating with one hand while holding a child in the other.  Never did with Mina, not doing it with Benji.  We talked him into the fact that sitting with me might actually be fun!  Of course, it wasn’t, and he was trying to shimmy off my lap for most of the time that I held him. 

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By this time, I’ve realized that Mina has not eaten more than one piece of her tuna.  She didn’t like it today.  I blame it on the fact that she has a cold.  She goes for the meat instead.  Fine with me, I’ll eat the tuna!  Benji has now decided that he would like to go back to his chair and eat so I carry him over there and we reset his place with noodles and rice. He seems to be doing okay again.

Now we’ve also got the Kal Bi cooking.  Yum!!  We basically leave Benji in his chair even though he is requesting out again.  Thankfully, he didn’t manipulate us with his cute words.  I hope the other restaurant patrons didn’t think we were mean parents for ignoring Benji’s crying, but it was easier on Team Phipps to let him be.

Ogre was able to get him to calm down when his voice started to escalate by starting a game of Peek a Boo, first with a napkin, then with a piece of lettuce.  The peek a boo game quickly deteriorated into a let’s just play with lettuce.  I could tell that Mina was wanting to participate in this little “game,” so I allowed her to get some lettuce also.  Sorry, restaurant, I know I shouldn’t let my kids play with their, uh, your food. 

 

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That bought us and the rest of the restaurant some peace and quite time before he started to get cranky again.  I was done eating, so I pulled him out of his chair and sang his favorite song, “You are My Sunshine,” and this made him delightfully happy as he sang along with me. 

Ogre had a slight freak out thinking he had forgotten his wallet (and I did not bring my purse!), but thankfully it was in a little used pocket in his coat!

We paid up and made a quick exit much to the delight of the others in the restaurant, I’m sure!

 

The food

This is traditional Korean food.  And not the upscale, fusion-y kind you’d think of with Naan.  We ordered family style, so I’ll just review each dish below.

DSC00242The Kimchee Pancakes were very good.  I did not try the “real” order, but it is larger and thicker than the complimentary pancake served with the banchan.  The pancakes are moist and have a good texture with a hint of spice and that great kimchee flavor.  Ogre said that the appetizer version, is all that and more.  He thought it was better and was spicier than the complimentary counterpart.

Bulgogi and Kal Bi (short ribs)The Bul Go Gi was very good.  The meat was thinly sliced and not too grizzly.  It had a great sweet, mild sesame flavor.  Of course, eating off the grill made it especially tasty!

The Kal Bi had an unexpected, but good flavor.  I think they must cook theirs with allspice or some similar flavor.  It was still good, but not the classic flavor I anticipated.  They put the meat on cut off the bones, which is nice. 

DSC00243The tuna sashimi was just okay.  Nothin to write home to mom about.  It didn’t have a buttery texture, but it was edible.  I wouldn’t order sushi here again.

 

DSC00251Ogre tried Benji’s noodles and said they were excellent.

 

Other kids menu choices included orange chicken, and a couple of other choice I cannot recall.

The service

I hate to generalize, but it unusual to get stellar service at an Asian restaurant.  Today was no exception.  Ogre has his theories on this.  I would say that it was average for an Asian restaurant, but below average generally speaking.  We had to request refills and we did not feel attended to.  Sometimes I worried that are food cooking was being ignored.  In fact, a few times, Ogre went ahead and turned the meat.  There were only two servers for the whole restaurant.  The lady bussing tables actually came by and brought Benji a spoon to eat with, which was really nice and deserves mention.

The kids

Overall, I’d say a below average to average kid friendly restaurant.  They have a kids menu, which many Asian restaurants lack, but other than that, not super kid friendly.  I think it’s hard to marry bad service with kid friendliness, particularly if the tempo of the food is slower than normal and when the food is not generally palatable.  I don’t think there are a lot of toddlers whose eyes grow wide with anticipation when the banchan comes out (like mine and Ogre). 

I was a little nervous when the server changed out the grill pan and swung the pan out and over to him OVER MINA’S head!  What if it had slipped??  Luckily, it didn’t, and I’m probably just being paranoid, but really, he could’ve been a bit more cognizant of Mina’s location. 

This is a great restaurant for Korean Food, a little more upscale than your hole in the wall (like Jin Mi), but apparently not as upscale or pricey as Naan.  It’s a far drive for us, but might be worth it for such good Korean food!  I like it more than Jin Mi for sure!! I would recommend coming here if you know your kids like Korean food and you can tolerated the slow, medicore service!

 

The total: $70.12

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