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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Food
Feel
Price
6.5
6.0
$40
Korean, Japanese
Casual restaurant

Hours
Mon–Fri 11:00am–10:00pm
Sat noon–10:00pm

Features Good wines, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.ilsonggarden.com

North Central
6905 Blanco Rd.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 366-4508
Ilsong Garden
The Queen of Korean earned her crown; it’s getting a tad tarnished

Young Casy awakened our interest in Korean cuisine, critical acclaim followed (we loved dishes such as skate with icy buckwheat noodles), the big-boy chefs flocked to her first restaurant, it moved to bigger quarters…then she moccved again. At the new location, many of the more challenging dishes were absent (that skate, for example), and a new category appeared: “Chef Young’s Menu for the Discerning Palate.” We should get over it. But we haven’t.

True, when the kitchen is on its game (which means that Chef Young is there paying attention) and the room is adequately staffed, your exotically peasant-like bibimbap will arrive in short order; with the addition of myriad banchan it makes one of the most satisfying lunches in town. The traditional barbecue is spicy, smoky, and tender, if occasionally overcooked. Vegetable pancakes with potato starch are savory and fresh—add kimchi. In fact, take kimchi any way you can—say soup and stew. Spicy seafood stew is well-stocked but under-flavored. Same goes for the yaki mandu. Too bad the dining room feels just enough like an Asian-inflected retirement home to discourage lingering. We might otherwise be inclined to stick around to find a satisfactory skate substitute.

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