Review: Bean & Burgundy – an intriguing Korean-American melange

4036900331_efcd523ded_bIt’s difficult when you really like a new restaurant but what the name is not totally obvious!   Is it “Bean & Burgundy” or “Bean & Burgundy Bread” (Burgundy bread?) or should it be “Bean & Burgundy & Bread”?   The sign in front of the store suggest that “Bread” is part of the name but the restaurant home page would suggest that the name is just “Bean & Burgundy”. Whatever – it’s worth knowing about!

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When we walked in around 7 pm on a Saturday evening, “BBB” was a brightly lit restaurant full of energy and pizazz.   At 8 pm in the middle of our meal, the lights were dimmed significantly and it took on the feel of hybrid restaurant/nightcllub.    In any case, “BBB” is open 7 days a week from 7 in the morning to midnight.   

1524741_721330424552233_1053802592_nLets talk more about that name:  the “Bean” stands for the gourmet coffee, the “Burgundy” alludes to the fact that it serves wine and beer, and the bread hints that they have a variety of bakery quality breads and treats.   What the name doesn’t give away is that BBB is owned by a Korean family and that the menu is an intriguing melange of Korean and American offerings.

DSC02051Inside, there’s a large “L” shape set of display cases and counters starting as you walk in with baked goods, then entrees, then the kitchen and finally in the short part of the “L”, there’s a bar.

1397387_697341140284495_887005056_oThe main part of the restaurant has a couple dozen tables with a mix of large booths, 5 foot high cubbies for tables of 8 and free standing tables.  At least in the evening, there’s a young man playing host who welcomed us and sat us in one of the booths.

936038_691376407547635_831666880_nThe dinner menu offers a range of possibilities;

IMG_2352The three of us started with two appetizers (recommended to us by our attentive, friendly waitress!).  We started with Smoked Norwegian Mackeral ($9) which was served with shredded Korean cucumber and scallions in a lemon sauce.  While tasty, I don’t know if I would be eager to order this again.

Mackeral Salad

Mackeral Salad

Our second appetizer was Pajeon ($9).   This included three palm-sized Korean special seafood pancakes with shredded pickled cucumber and a special brown sauce.  They were delicious!  (My friend Tom declared that a larger 6 pancake version would have made for a great entree for him!)

DSC02055For our main course, Tom and I both opted for a Korean classic, “Bi Bop Bim”.  ($7.50 – The menu describes it as a “Korean Mixing Bowl”; Adding bulgogi costs $2, chicken $1)   We both had lots of options picking out whether we want white or brown rice, the veggies that would be included, what “protein” to be added (we both opted for Bulgogi Beef), and whether the special sauce was added to the dish or served “on the side” .  As a result, as you can see below, the two entrees looked similar yet quite different!

Tom's Bi Bop Bim with spinach and white rice and sauce on the side

Tom’s Bi Bim Bop with spinach and white rice and sauce on the side

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John’s Bi Bim Bop with brown rice, pickled veggies and sauce right on top

Our friend Paul opted for a “Bulgogi Cheese Steak” ($9);  From the ingredients, this is probably the Korean equivalent of a Philly Cheese Steak!  With this dish, Bulgogi Beef (spicy marinated beef Korean style!) is joined by carmelized onions, melted provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato; it comes served with some cole slaw and potato chips!   Paul liked it (and found it so filling that he took half of his sandwich home!)

Bulgogi Cheese Steak
Bulgogi Cheese Steak

FYI – There’s a lot more to the menu here though than Korean dishes!   There’s a wide range of over a dozen American standard sandwiches including a Ruben, a Turkey Ruben, Corn Beef, Ham, Tuna salad, Chicken Salad wrap, and a simple BLT (Bacon, lettuce and tomato in case you weren’t sure that that “B” stood for! <Wink>)   These range from $6 to $8.  Then there a Chef Salad or Ceasar Chicken Salad ($10.99) and several unusual flatbreads ($13-$17)

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We had been tempted by the desert counter on the way in. We decided to try a small piece of sweet potato cake ($4).  It was very, very good; the sweet potato origins weren’t obvious to me; instead it struck me as some special variation of a cheese cake (Tom boldly snatched the pieces of chocolate off the top without offering me even a taste! How cruel!)

Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potato Cake

Paul about to steal the last morsel of Sweet Potato Cake!

Paul about to steal the last morsel of Sweet Potato Cake!

Service was great!  Our server was friendly and attentive and helpful (displaying good knowledge of the menu!)   Bean & Burgundy & Bread has great potential and is well worth the time to discover and enjoy!

FACTS:  Bread & Burgundy; Ellicott City; 9496 Baltimore National Pike (aka Route 40 – 1.5 miles west of Route 29); 410-680-8034; Wine and Beer; Vegetarian Options; Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner; adjacent free parking; also available: gourmet coffee and bakery quality desserts.    (Last DiningOUT visit: 3/15/2014)

 

Bean & Burgundy on Urbanspoon

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