The presence of a Korean restaurant on North Rock road may come as a surprise to even those familiar with the area. Yet amidst the plethora of chain and trendy dining options on one of the Eastside’s most heavily trafficked streets there is a place where you can get your kimchi fix.
Hot Stone has been tucked away on Rock Road for nearly ten years now, just south of 37th St in a small strip mall. The interior features a dining room decorated similar to other Asian restaurants in town and has enough seating to accommodate large groups easily.
The menu at Hot Stone features the best selection of authentic Korean dishes in town, yet also offers more familiar choices for those not looking for a culinary adventure. The appetizers include tempura shrimp and vegetables, a seaweed roll, egg rolls, and Korean dumplings. Entrees are broken down into several main Korean dishes including Bulgogi, Kalbi, and Rice Bowls. Each of these has several different meat, seafood, or vegetable options. Other menu items include stews, spicy stir fry dishes, fried rice and various teriyaki entrees.
On our visit we started out with fried mandu, which is a Korean dumpling filled with ground meat and diced onion. The mandu wrap was expertly fried with a crispy exterior and chewy interior that was filled with a savory pork filling. A sweet dipping sauce was served alongside the mandu. For our main dishes we ordered Shrimp Bulgogi, Kimchi Dolsot, and teriyaki chicken for the kids. Each of our entrees came with traditional Korean sides of kimchi, pickled radishes and bean sprouts (these sides can be substituted if for some inexplicable reason you do not wish to have Kimchi). Kimchi is a tangy mixture of cabbage, garlic, green onions, and spices that have been mixed together and allowed to ferment. Hot Stone’s version was served at room temperature which allowed the bold flavors and subtle spiciness to come out. The meals also came with a cup of miso soup, which our 1 year old found delightful. The Shrimp Bulgogi featured ample amounts of shrimp as well as sautéed peppers and
onions in a sweet sauce. It was a decent dish, but not as good as other Bulgogi versions we have had. The grilled teriyaki chicken was served thinly sliced and bathed in a sweet and savory sauce. A side of steamed rice helped to ensure that the extra teriyaki sauce did not go to waste. I was happy to note that the chicken was not overcooked and the sauce was not the congealed mess that sometimes happens with a teriyaki dish. The best dish was the Kimchi Dolsot. This classic Korean staple came served in a searing hot stone bowl and consisted of steamed rice with liberal amounts of warm kimchi, bits of sweet-marinated pork, and green onion piled on top. Crispy bits of rice from the stone bowl and a splash of tangy Gochujang chili sauce made the Dolsot a delicious dish for those that like their food with a little spiciness.