By: Amanda Diamond
Photos: Amanda Diamond IG: @diamands
I have been wanting to check out Nori Table since it opened a while back, but never got around to going. Thankfully, Derek was kind enough to ask me to review this restaurant and I am really glad he did. The food, service, and atmosphere all joined together to make a great Saturday night dinner.
How To Get There: The easiest way to get to Nori Table is to take the subway to Itaewon Station (Line 6) and depart from Exit 1. Walk about 500 – 750 meters until you get to the hill leading up to Coreanos and Gino’s Pizza. Nori Table is on your right.
Atmosphere and Service: The Itaewon food festival was happening at the same time, and as we were on our way to the restaurant we stopped to see that Dynamic Duo was playing a free show towards the ending of the festival. My dining companion and I immediately thought that because of this the restaurant would be empty (as so many restaurants on our way to Nori Table were) but that was not the case. The staff were friendly from the start, and the small, but intimate atmosphere made the meal even more enjoyable.
We ordered four things off the menu.
The Shrimp Tempura hand rolls which consisted of Shrimp Tempura, Avocado (I ordered mine without), Cucumber, Romaine, Tobiko. The Lotus Sunset rolls with consisted of cream cheese and crab roll deep fried, topped with spicy tuna fried lotus. The Swag G which was a spicy tuna roll with shrimp tempura inside, covered in homemade ell sauce, green tobiko, and fried nori. Finally, the mixed tempura which consisted of shrimp, asparagus, red pepper, mushroom, broccoli, sweet potato, and carrot.
Lotus Sunset Rolls (13,000KRW): I love cream cheese, I love crab, and I love anything deep fried. That being said, this roll was quite good. The mixture of the creamy cream cheese and deep-fried crab really balanced each other out. However, I would have liked a little less cream cheese, as I felt it was a bit too rich. The cream cheese ended up over powering the taste of the fish. As a shared roll this was perfect, however, I don’t know if I would have been able to eat a whole roll myself.
Swaggy G (13,000KRW): We originally wanted to try the Emugi, but the kitchen staff was out of soft- shell crab. We came pretty late at night so this was understandable. But our waitress recommended the Swaggy G and it did not disappoint! My dining companion grew up living in both Busan and Jeju-do, so she had high expectations when it came to fish. However, I am not the biggest sushi fan and am quite picky when it comes to which fish I like to eat, so I wasn’t sure if I would like the tuna, or if it would be up to my friend’s standards. Thankfully it surpassed expectations on both counts. The Swaggy G was the perfect balance of crispiness and creaminess. I could have easily eaten two of these rolls myself.
Shrimp Tempura Hand Rolls (Two Piece: 9,000KRW): I love a good hand roll and they are incredibly hard to find in Seoul. So when I saw all the options at Nori Table, I wanted to devour them all. However, I knew I had a lot of food coming so I opted for the tempura hand rolls. I am not a huge fan of avocado, a sushi roll staple I know. I asked the waitress to leave it out and she happily complied. They were good, but not the best I have ever had. The tempura could have been a bit more crispy, but the soft shell crab inside the roll was really creamy, and a very portioned generously. If I didn’t have more food coming, I could have easily inhaled at least 10 of these.
Mixed Tempura (10,000KRW): Whenever I order tempura at a Japanese restaurant, I only order the shrimp tempura because I am not a huge fan of cooked vegetables. However, since I was eating with someone else who happens to love vegetables, we compromised. The tempura consisted of shrimp, mushroom, asparagus, red pepper, carrot and broccoli. I have never actually seen asparagus or red pepper tempura before, so I was a little thrown off, but decided to give them a try anyway and they were delicious! They seem to have been pre-cooked before they were deep fried, so when you bit into the crispy outside, the inside was soft and juicy. I heard good things about the broccoli, mushroom and sweet potato tempura from my friend as well, but she seemed to favour the carrot pieces the most.
Overall, this was a really pleasant dining experience. As a picky eater, I am always reluctant to try new foods, especially foods that are unfamiliar to me. Had Derek not asked me to review this restaurant, I would have played it safe and not ordered outside of my comfort zone. However, because of this experience I feel like my eyes have been opened to a whole new level of sushi roll options and I can’t wait to go back and try all the other different sushi options Nori Table has available. I normally drag my friend all around Itaewon to try new restaurants that I have never been to before, and she told me that Nori Table was in her top three favourites, and I have to agree. If you are from North America, and miss the all-you-can-eat style sushi you find there, then definitely check Nori Table out!