Address: 3180 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, NY
Neighborhood: Salt Springs (Erie Boulevard East)
Menu: View Menu
Cuisine: Korean & Japanese
Alcohol: Full Bar
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM to 10 PM, Friday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 4:30 to 11 PM, Saturday 11:30 AM to 11 PM, Sunday 2 PM to 10 PM
Parking: Private lot
Accepts credit cards: Yes
Note: I understand that Tokyo Seoul (and most Erie Blvd establishments) may be technically outside city boundaries, but I'm going to include Erie Blvd as far East as Bridge St on the reviews.
I went into Tokyo Seoul for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. The interior is a little dark, but very cozy, relaxed, and perhaps even good for a date. I would even go out on a limb to say that this place is kid-friendly, as hibachi usually seems to be a great draw for children. Inside you'll fine booths for more intimate dining, an open hibachi room, and a sushi bar towards the back.
California Roll: $6
Hot & Spicy Shrimp Bento Lunch: $10.50
Total cost with tax and tip: $21.66
There are different main entrees that come with the Bento Lunches such as chicken teriyaki, crispy pork loin, or marinated fish (check the lunch menu for details). They're a great concept as you get a little variety of different foods and tastes with your meal. First is the Miso Soup (excuse the picture quality).
This soup was really good. Tiny pieces of tofu and sliced scallions in an oniony broth.
Next was the sushi...
Ginger, wasabi, and the California Roll with crab and avocado, topped with masago (fish eggs).
I have very little knowledge with Japanese cuisine, but didn't really expect that the masago would be covering the sushi. I don't know if this is commonplace or if it was a fluke thing. I suppose it was a little overwhelming and I really had to scrape some of it off. The sushi was good, but nothing to write home about. I really should have gotten a more authentic style of sushi and maybe some sashimi as well.
I'm not going to dismiss Tokyo Seoul's sushi by any means, because I have only had one experience with it. I'd be willing to go back and check out the sushi bar at some point, just to try out some different kinds (and they did have a wide variety of choices). But, I suppose I was a little let-down by the California Roll in particular.
Then my Bento Lunch was next (and came pretty fast after the sushi).
From top left to bottom right: rice, ginger salad, Japanese chae noodles, hot & spicy shrimp, deep fried tofu (I think?), and vegetable tempura and dipping sauce.
OK first off, the shrimp was awesome. Just a perfect amount of lightly-breaded crispiness and spiciness with decent-sized, juicy shrimps. This was so good. (I'm always a little apprehensive about ording shrimp for the first time at any place that isn't along the Atlantic or Pacific coastline. It's more of a gamble because you never know if they are going to be small or regular sized - Tokyo Seoul did not disappoint). The vegetable tempura (carrot and zucchini) were both good, but the dipping sauce could have had a little more flavor to it as I though it was a bit bland and I'm not really sure what it was because it wasn't listed on the menu. The deep fried tofu was sweet and airy with some crunchiness mixed in. For someone who doesn't like tofu, they might even like this. The rice was a little dry and could have been a little more like "sticky rice". The Japanese chae noodles were some form of boiled vermicelli. I was not a fan of them, but I think that is more of a matter of taste. Just an odd texture of noodles that I'm really not used to. Again, just my own preference though. The salad was meh. I thought that the spicy ginger salad dressing was a little heavy and the whole salad-aspect probably could have been presented better on the plate (perhaps a different style of lettuce or thinner dressing?). Overall though, I'd say the Bento lunch is a great. Not only for the variety of food, but also for the amount of food that you get. I was totally stuffed.
You are given a few small packets of Japanese gum with your check. I don't care for melon-flavored gum, but it's a nice touch.
Some other tips...
- It can get crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, so make reservations ahead of time.
- It is also a favorite spot of college students. Just a heads up (or fair warning).
I would definitely go back here for lunch, dinner, or drinks (mmm, sake). And their lunch menu is worth trying out especially if you are new to either Korean or Japanese cuisine.
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