Barrio Coreano

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416.901.5188  http://www.playacabana.ca/642-bloor/     closed mon,  dinner tues-sun

Happy Latin beats, pink neon lights and boisterous conversations welcomes one inside the latest venture from the Playa Cabana family.  Its always a fun getaway from the cold stepping inside  feeling that happy vibe.  The drinks are always rockin’, especially their fresh lime margaritas and wonderful selection of tequila.   Here, the chef Dave Sidhu has combined (not fused) Korean and Mexican cuisine in hopes of bringing a little nostalgia from his hometown Los Angeles to Toronto.  This is the forth restaurant they have opened, and being honest I feel the quality of the food has slipped a little.  Don’t get me wrong the décor is beautiful and the drinks heavy-hitting, however, when my server tries to tell me I’m eating beef ribs when they are clearly pork ribs, there’s a problem.  

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Guacamole with hand-pressed corn tortillas are always a knockout. Grilled octopus and wasabi salsa tacos are loaded with heat and spice; Baja fish tacos are a better choice.  Salmon ceviche is actually very tasty, notes of fruit turn into lingering spice.  “KFL” Korean fried lobster, a whole 1lb shelled, battered covered in spicy, sour kampongki sauce over arroz tumbada rice is alright but hardly worth the $34 price tag.  Seared scallops with watermelon jicama Kimchi are rubbery, making the fire red corn chips soggy.

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And now my beef: if you have Korean beef spareribs on your menu and you RUN OUT don’t serve pork and try and pass it off as beef.   When my dish arrived the ribs looked small, so I asked my server “are they beef?” and he was like “ya they are”.   Giving him the benefit of my doubt I took a bite and realized they were trying to get one over on me – lame.

Will I come back here again? Probably not, unless I felt like salsa and guacamole and all the other restaurants in the entire city were full.  

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