Yori Korean Cuisine

yori has closed.

While the rest of the country (and world, really) have been enjoying a surge in Korean restaurants over the last few years, St. Louis has not. We're still in the fusion phase, still getting acquainted with the funk of fermented veggies and the spice of gochujang at Seoul Taco and Kim Cheese. We've got a handful of traditional Korean restaurants that have been here for sometime, like Seoul Garden, Joo Joo, and Asian Kitchen, but we haven't seen much new come through. A couple weeks back, Feast posted an article about a new Korean place in Chesterfield called Yori and I literally got dressed and went.

Then I went again the next day.

I love Korean food. If I went back and added up what hawker stand I ate at the most in Singapore, it would almost certainly be the Korean stall. Yori did not disappoint—in fact, I thought the flavors of most of the dishes trumped the same at other Korean restaurants above (though it made me miss Seoul Q dearly).

The only banchan repeated over the two days were the cabbage and radish kimchi, which was solid—but my favorite was the crispy, sweet tofu. If they offered a KFC sized bucket of those on the menu, I'd get it.The lunch set is the way to go, even if the portion size is better suited for an NFL player than a mere mortal. You pick the protein, and it comes with salad, fruit, two dumplings, japchae noodles, and rice. On my first visit, we shared a galbi (BBQ short rib) set and man, those flavors were on point. The meat was juicy and sweet, with that caramelized and crunchy exterior that makes your toes curl.

I went a little outside the box on my second visit and decided on the spicy squid—once again, a huge portion. Korean spice tends to creep up on you, unlike Thai spice which delivers a Muay Thai knee straight to your sinuses. I never felt like my mouth was on fire, but my nose was running by the end. The seasoning of the squid was nice, but I would have liked some of that char I got on the meat.

For $2.99, you can add soup to your lunch set, and with the way Feast and the restaurant's owner, Jay Moon, talked about the soon tofu, I had to get it. Hands down, my new favorite in town. Like the squid, the spice level was balanced, and the mix of beef and seafood broth gave it a complexity I haven't had in other soon tofu here. I can't wait for winter so I can just get myself a huge bowl of it.

Finally, we have the hot stone bibimbap, aka dolsot bibimbap, aka the best Korean dish out there. A fiery hot stone bowl is filled with rice, veggies, and your choice of meat, and delivered to the table. You get some gochujang and spicy mayo, toss that in, stir it all up, then wait. Listen to the sizzle. Smell the smells. You want to let it get to the point where the rice all along the bowl starts getting charred and crispy. Stir that rice throughout the dish. Now you're ready to eat. And if you want to go all out, make sure to ask them for an egg on top.

Edit: I've been to Yori a few more times—word of warning: the fish isn't gutted beforehand. I've never seen that at a restaurant before, but it's really unappealing. Skip it.