Fun Fare at Namoo Korean Eatery
Korean cuisine is not so easy to come by on the Shoreline, but I’m a big Bibimbap and Bulgogi fan, so when I heard about this place in Norwich, we scurried up. Korean has been the Next Big Thing in urban centers for a while now, so it’s surprising that it hasn’t made inroads here. Surprising because…it’s YUMMY! And so fun to eat!
Namoo is a bit more polished than a typical Asian joint, with Gyotaku fish prints on the walls, stone floors, and black tables. The surprising thing is the open kitchen with Mama back there stirring away. We dug right into crisp and meaty Korean chicken wings with a spicy dipping sauce, and a starter of a vegetable scallion pancake, that despite the huge serving, I was hard pressed not to finish. Not quite as crispy as the ones you’re used to, but perhaps a bit healthier: stuffed with all those veggies and far less greasy. Don’t go too crazy on the apps (although next time I’m having Mama’s hand-rolled dumplings that kept passing my table). I loved my steaming clay bowl of Dol Sot Bibimbap: marinated beef served on a mound of fluffy rice, with carrots, shitake, zucchini and topped with a fried egg. You can mix the whole thing together (my husband), or eat the components separately (me), but either way, let the soft yolk ooze over the rice.
I doused the bowl with homemade Gochujang pepper paste that takes a full year to ferment. Yup, a year. My husband’s Yook Gae Jang soup was just as he liked it: super spicy, and stuffed with cabbage, fiddleheads, and glass noodles in a rich beef broth. The side of puffy rice cools the heat. Save a bit of room for dessert and put out the fire with an ice cream sandwich: fun for kids AND adults, this fish-shaped wafer comes filled with vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream, or go authentic like we did and choose red bean paste.
The young brother/sister team behind Namoo believe in clean, fresh, authentic ingredients and their mom still whips up the kimchi and all the sauces. BYOB (a liquor license is in the works) and go early, the place fills up. Shout out to our lovely and patient server Beth, who knows her way around Korean food, and thanks, Chris C. for the tip.