Our Korean friends, Ana and Kay, took us to a new Korean restaurant called South Castle that had recently opened up on Austin Avenue in Coquitlam. The original restaurant of the same name is in North Vancouver, and apparently the Coquitlam location is the second branch of this restaurant (around Austin Heights Pizza area - I didn't take down the address, and somehow there is no trace of this location in the internet!).
Our friends warned us that the restaurant is very specialized and caters to mostly Korean customers.
The restaurant is on Austin Avenue, and is the location of a string of failed restaurants. The decor is very typical for a Korean restaurant, with lots of wood, and booths. However, the first thing I noticed about this place as we walked in was how busy it was; all of the tables were nearly filled, and the servers were running around. As a consequence, our service wasn't that great and was quite rushed.
There isn't your typical menu at this restaurant; in fact, the only menu they had was on one wall, and it was entirely in Korean. However, this doesn't seem to be a huge deal because the menu consists on variations of one dish - sausage encased in intestine, and soup with lots of intestines.
As usual, we were presented with an array of Korean side dishes. They were good, though not remarkable.
The only thing that didn't have intestines in it was the bulgogi soup, which is what Shane got ($8.99). This arrived in an impressive stone pot type vessel in full boil. In addition to the slices of marinated beef, the soup had lots of green onion, veggies, a few strands of potato noodles. Shane enjoyed this, although for me, the soup had a bit too much sugary sweetness.
The rest of us went for their specialty, which is the intestine soup with sausage ($10.49). According to our friends, this is 'soul food' and the ultimate comfort food for Koreans. Apparently South Castle does a near gourmet version of the dish and is of a quality that you would unlikely find in Korea. Like the other dish, it arrived in a rollicking boil. This too, was filled with onions, bean sprouts, and green onions. I was very surprised at the amount of pepper that was in the soup; it tasted overpoweringly peppery, which was a very different flavour than I'm used to. Some of the intestines were enjoyable, and the sausage was pretty interesting, though the thick intestine casing made it a little too chewy. However, the dish had too much intestine for me. Near the end I couldn't really eat any more.
I was very pleased that I was able to try this specialty dish. I definitely would try this again, though it's not a dish that I would crave on a regular basis. Judging from the number of customers, this restaurant seems here to stay.