Mr. Kimchi

Kimchi and Korean BBQ on King Street
by Robin Gray
October 2019

Mr. Kimchi eats

Mr. Kimchi eats

Mr. Kimchi is located on the wonderful food block of 200 King Street in downtown Madison. This is a timely review for they serve just what I crave in the fall which is warm, rich, spicy, and filling food. The friendly staff and service as well as the warm atmosphere were very welcoming. I can easily say that I was not disappointed with anything that I tasted at Mr. Kimchi. They have classic Korean fare and flavors but also put a new fusion flare to many dishes. A few items on the appetizer menu that highlight this are the trio of kimchi, the Korean BBQ chicken wings, and the rangoons. Kimchi consists of vegetables which are fermented and pickled and then spiced. Kimchi is often served as a side dish but is also used as a component in many Korean dishes. The trio comes with napa cabbage, cucumber and radish varieties. It has everything that a food can. It is sour, salty, a little sweet, and also savory from fish sauce. The fried chicken is cheekily called KFC- Korean fried chicken. It was crispy and started off sweet and then the heat slowly kicked in. I wanted more.

The rangoons are filled with cream cheese as was expected but also bulgogi, which is marinated beef with hints of sweetness and sesame and that is pan seared. These were a fun and Korean influenced take on classic rangoons and they were quite satisfying. After those starters, I also had a selection of Bibimbap and a SSAM plate. Bibimbap is a rice bowl. Some are served hot and others cold. At Mr. Kimchi, they do not use stone bowls as is often expected but my rice still was crispy and crunchy in places. The spicy salmon bibimpab brought a lightness to this spicy and hearty dish. It was spiced with cho gochujang which is labeled on the menu as “sweet, spicy and tangy sauce”. It was just that. The bowl was filled with rice, vegetables and the salmon. All mixed up it was so tasty and very filling. I had mine with the choice of purple rice. Like brown rice, purple rice still has the outer bran and is more nutritious and also more firm and chewy than white rice. It is technically a black rice but it turns a beautiful dark purple when cooked. I also sampled the pork belly SSAM plate. The pork belly was cooked perfectly with the fat rendered and was slightly crispy and very moist. SSAM plates consist of a greens for wrapping whatever meat you have chosen. It was accompanied by several types of banchan. These side dishes change frequently according to our server. The pickled radish was delicious as was the scallion pancake.

Overall, Mr. Kimchi delivers Korean flavors and dishes with an updated new spin. The food menu is complimented with an ample Sake menu and some cocktails re-imagined with Korean flavors or spirits.

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