Saturday, June 16, 2012


Kokoya Korean Restaurant (5515 Yonge Street, Willowdale, Ontario)

Outside of this place, there's a sign that says "beer and chicken". I like both those things, so we decided to go for it.

The lady that greeted us was super friendly and very helpful. She briefly showed us the menus and invited us to ask her questions if we had any. Their Korean specials menu (what I call the menu from Korean restaurants with the alcohol and food combos) actually had English on it - bonus points! We were curious about what "half and half chicken" meant and she explained that it was half fried chicken and half spicy chicken.

Half and half chicken (combo with 5 bottles of Molson Canadian)
I liked their triangle plates and how they presented our giant chicken. The fried chicken was super crispy, and the spicy chicken was also super crispy and sweet. Both types of chicken were not dry at all, which I really appreciated. Nothing makes me more angry than dry chicken. The only thing that was that if you ate the red chicken first, the other kind tasted a bit bland since it wasn't as sauced up in flavour. The lady came back with some pickled white radishes and explained that the sourness of it went well with the sweet and spicy of the chicken. 

The complimentary sides included this mystery mashed ball. Usually in other Korean restaurants, it's mashed potato mixed with stuff, but this was sweeter and orange. 

The salad had a creamy type sweet onion dressing, which we enjoyed. Halfway through our meal, we were offered another dish of salad. I thought that was nice.

Would I return? Yes. (Super crispy + moist) chicken + beer = good. The lady that worked there was super friendly. We had fun watching and commenting on the Korean music performances on the TV. The Korean specials can substitute the 5 bottles of beer for soju or a pitcher of beer. The prices seem comparable to the other restaurants in the area. It's a bit dark and small inside, but we were a small group on a weekday that didn't have a problem with that. Washrooms are single stalls and clean. Parking seems non-existent unless there's two spots in the back, but there's free street parking on Yonge after 9 p.m. One last thing that should be mentioned is that I don't remember seeing many non-chicken items on the menu, and most stuff looks like it's meant to be shared. This place really is mostly for chicken and beer/soju.

Total damage: approximately $23 for my share of the chicken and beers.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Burger Week!

It's The Grid's first Burger Week where a bunch of Toronto joints add a special $5 burger to their menu. Some offer a Black-Tie burger. And I just noticed this, but some of the places offer a beer-and-burger special featuring Muskoka Brewery products where you get to keep the glass... now I feel jipped one glass. :/

We tried Hrvati Bar but it's a small bar, and they said the wait would be about 45 minutes. I'm not sure if it's usually that packed or Burger Week is more popular than I thought it was.

So we deflected to Caplansky's (356 College Street). It took them a little while to get us seated, and we were a little perplexed as there seemed to be enough free tables. They offered their $5 burger, but also a $10 beer-and-burger deal which I got.

Here's the Muskoka cream ale in a cup that I was supposed to keep.
I liked it. It was nice. Went down easy and smoothly. Very unoffensive.

Here's the $5 burger, and I ordered an extra side of smoked meat poutine ($5). 
The burger was super, super dried out. It had flavour, but I found myself wishing for more fat pockets to cut the dryness. I liked the challah bun. I didn't taste much of that piece of smoked meat on it. The poutine had lots of oregano which Berta did not like. Jess liked it until it got too salty. I liked it because the flavour was so strong and it was so meaty - it went well with my cream ale, I thought. (Also, I like salty.) The cheese curds were a bit scant though.

Would I return to Caplansky's? Maybe for their smoked meat, which they seem to advertise way more of. I had interest in the latkes, but looking at an adjacent table's order of them, they seemed a bit too blackened. Service is friendly. 

The diner isn't very big, and it's mostly two seater booths, but we managed to find two benches in the back that could seat six people each.

There was a $10 pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from 3 - 6 p.m. written up on the chalk board, next to the $5 burger for Burger Week. Naturally, we got the pitcher.
It's okay. It's light and... okay, it tastes a bit like water to me. I'd drink it if someone else orders it or if it's on sale.

In the back, you can see them grind up the meat. Meat grinder excitement!

 Onion rings ($5) and my $5 burger. 
The onion rings were HUGE, and very crispy. They tasted sweet. I liked them, but I felt like they could've used a bit of seasoning. Not a problem, since there was salt and pepper on the table. A good idea might be to get one of their dipping sauces and dip 'em into that.

 AAA house-ground beef with herbed goat cheese, caramelized onions, and jalapeno aioli.
The meat wasn't bad, but I really liked the caramelized onions and goat cheese. That's good stuff. 

 Bianca and Derek both got a poutine. It was pretty good. 

We also tried the deep-fried pickles. They were super crispy and came with some sort of yummy chipotle aioli sauce. I tried a small bit and I think that's all I can take. It was fun to try. 

Would I return? Yes. Burger wasn't bad and had good toppings, poutine was decent (slightly pinkish, not too dry), sauces were interesting, fried stuff was crispy, server was fun. 

Burger week lasts until Sunday. More info here.