This Sh*t's Delicious

Exploring the world through cocktails, shit hole restaurants, and UrbanAg

Review of Don Day: The Gritty Underbelly of Korean BBQ

Are you sure this place isn't called "On Ay?"

Summary: abound with Asian crews of all ethnicities and the very definition of “hole in the wall”, Don Day delivers on the ambiance, but doesn’t shine as brightly in the food arena.

As far as hole-in-the-walls go, Don Day certainly looks like it should rank amongst the seediest – just a block down from the "Crack Macs", with a sign with 1/3 of the letters missing and the steamy, delicious smells of meat and grease emanating from its cramped interior.  Sounds like the perfect place to feature in our blog!  Kiran, Kent and I stopped in for a quick bite and a bit to drink a while back, though we didn’t have enough time for a multi-course meal.

Glorious 7th Ave

We were probably the only non-Koreans thereUpon taking our seats/stools around the crusty table/BBQ pit, we perused the picture of food mounted along the wall – there were some rather intriguing-looking dishes, including what appeared to be a rack of bacon.  I made a mental note that we would have to come back to try that!

As usual, Kiran opened with a question about vegetarian options, which prompted the waitress to turn around and march out the front door (that had to be the most confused I have ever seen a server –Kiran).  Luckily, she did return, though bringing with her the unfortunate news (for Kiran) that none of the soups were vegetarian friendly – all of them have either a meat or seafood base (although, to be fair, the mark of an authentic Asian restaurant is the lack of vegetarian options –Kiran).  Kent and I decided to split the Gam Ja Tang – Pork and Potato soup – while Kiran ordered some sort of omelette that resembled the egg that you occasionally find on sushi (and it turned out to be pretty delicious – nothing spectacular, but delicious nonetheless –Kiran).

Thank god for the ketchup!The soup came out mere seconds after ordering, indicating that they probably have huge quantities of it stewing in the back.  It didn’t have quite the same foliage as the picture of it, sadly, but there was definitely a good helping of meat.  If you’ve ever eaten the meat off of a soup-bone that was used to prepare a broth or stock, you’d have a good idea of what this pork was like – melt-in-your-mouth tender, but without much flavour as most of it was boiled into the soup.  The worst thing about the soup was that there was only a SINGLE potato in it – I must admit, normally it would be impressive to have a dish with more meat in it than all of the vegetables/starch combined but when you’re sharing a dish (which is almost a requirement, given how ginormous it is) you don’t expect to have to fight over the potato.

There are at least THREE potatoes in this picture!Looks spicier than it is

A handy tip for handling your soup, if you happen to order it – DON’T hold on to your metal bowl while you are filling it with boiling-hot soup!  Kent had to learn this the hard way.  There’s a gas stove provided so that you can keep your soup boiling hot for the duration of your stay, which is something my dad would certainly appreciate (he loves his food piping hot).

Jinro time, muthaf*ckersOf course, a visit here wouldn’t be complete without some Korean spirits – so we grabbed a bottle of soju as well as a bottle of yellow rice wine to try out.  The rice wine was actually surprisingly pleasant, and quite sweet (rice wine is made from rice, koji, ginseng, ginger and other Asian ingredients I don’t know how to pronounce; it tasted like watered down horchata to me -Kiran). The soju, as usual, was insidiously subtle in taste but higher in alcohol content than you would suspect.

All-in-all, Don Day has some decent soup and looks like it would be a solid place for Korean BBQ as well – just make sure you don’t wear your work clothes when you come, because you’ll never be able to get the grease out (unless you are a greasy motherfucker like Richard in the first place – then it wouldn’t matter –Kiran).



Ambiance N/A But awesome
Service 3/6
Plating 5/6 For the stove!
Taste 3.5/6 Soup only, BBQ not rated
Authenticity 6/6
Value 4.5/6
Overall 22/30 = 73%

Don Day Korean on Urbanspoon


5 responses to “Review of Don Day: The Gritty Underbelly of Korean BBQ

  1. Vincci December 28, 2011 at 21:53

    Cool! I’ve never heard of this place! Will have to try it out!

    • kiransomanchi December 28, 2011 at 21:58

      Hey yeah it’s basically in that block between 8th and 9th streets on 7th Ave. Part of what is now mini K-town. For some reason that block has become home to lots of Korean establishements. There’s even a language school there.

      Let me know if you go. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Travis February 10, 2012 at 14:51

    Yeah! You finally reviewed this place. I’m surprised the food is as good as it sounds given the smell emanating from their vents…

    • kiransomanchi February 10, 2012 at 14:59

      Yeah those are some powerful odors/aromas emanating from the vents. I have always found real authentic Asian cuisine to have some powerful smells associated with them. There wasn’t anything vegetarian which is another sign of authenticity. At the end of thhe day though I didn’t have any food so I am not the best judge.

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