My friend Suzanne asked me to try the new Korean place in Carmel—their tagline is “Fast. Fresh. Korean Grill.” It’s an interesting concept—there are a handful of different options—mainly all revolving around picking a meat choice (bulgogi beef, chicken or pork) and then adding veggies—depending on the dish dictates how many you get. There are a ton of choices, some are spicy, some are pickled, some are just steamed and then there are things like kim chi as well. The veggies are all cold and unless you order particular dishes, they are served cold with your warm rice and meat (there are also 3 different rice options). It’s basically set up taqueria style, or Subway style, where you walk down the line and make your choices as you go. If it were really busy, I’m guessing it might be a bit time consuming because there are so many options, and I’m guessing this is a type of cuisine many are not that familiar with.
I really wanted a hot dish so I ordered #2 Dolsot Bibimbap ($10.40). This is a compilation of the above ingredients in a hot stone bowl. And when they say hot, they are not kidding. This dish stayed smoking hot the entire time I was eating it. I chose steamed rice topped with the bulgogi beef, and bean sprouts, zucchini, pickled radish, spinach, and spicy radish. It also has a fried egg on top. Suzanne had a similar version with some slightly different veggies.
|All mixed together|
So the cool thing about dolsot bibimbap is the way the super hot bowl crisps up the bottom edge of the rice giving the whole dish an added crunchy texture. This one certainly did this in spades. You kind of mix everything together and eat it like that. We also used a lot of their seasoned soy sauce on our dishes (they give you this at the register and yes, you need to get it). There is hot sauce and regular soy that you can use at your table and I recommend a little of the hot sauce as well. Once you play with it and add some of these extra seasonings, you end up with an enjoyable, comforting dish. I wished the egg was a bit runnier just to add a little more yolkiness, but that’s me (and it kept cooking a lot in that smoking hot bowl.—I think you could put it in there raw and it would totally cook during the time you were eating it).
This is one of those cuisines that takes adding your own taste to to get it where you want it. It’s a nice thing to throw into the rotation if you live in the area and want a fast food type option, but don’t want to actually eat crappy fast food. There’s a lot more freshness about the ingredients and at least it’s more interesting than another wimpy fast food burger. I can’t say it would be a destination for me personally, being up in Carmel, and based on what I had, but I would be interested to try it again at some point. It’s also run by a family with a passion for this food, and they are helpful and eager to please—it’s nice to see. (Side note: they need different napkins! They are the size of a credit card and you need about 23 to eat a meal. This is one of my restaurant pet peeves). Anyhow, who else has been?
Omoni Fresh Fast Korean Grill
13710 N. Meridian Street
Carmel, IN 46032