Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mirocjo: Korean, Including Barbecue, in Ellicott City

While Shin Chon Garden was renovating, we set out to try a Korean alternative, and we came away happy from Mirocjo.

Don't let first impressions fool you. Mirocjo is on the second floor of the rundown Bethany 40 shopping center on Rte 40 just west of the Enchanted Forest shopping area. Inside, the restaurant has industrial fans over the barbecue tables and a floral wallpaper that suggests 1970s grandmothers.

But the food is delicious. The bulgogi meat was tender and flavorful without any of the fat or gristle that mars cheaper cuts. The dolset bibimbop came with a full-cooked egg, which I had never seen before, but the rice and vegetables crisped up in the hot stone bowl. That warm crust of rice makes bibimbop stand head and shoulders above any mundane friend rice.

Like most good Korean restaurants, the real excitement was in the panchan -- the little dishes put out as an appetizer and side dishes. Mirocjo laid out a feast of 10 bowls. Kimchi. Seaweed salad. Slightly-sweet black beans. Radish in a pepper sauce. Tender chunks of potato in a slightly-sweet sauce. Each was delicious, and together, they infuse the meal with the tapas-style fun of sampling a dozen tastes instead of just two main dishes. It was as good as Shin Chon Garden, which has been our top choice so far.

Definitely try to bring some friends along. If you order two servings of grilled meats, you can grill yourself at the barbecue tables. Although I always wonder if that's an American affectation. After Saturday night's thunderstorm, there were several tables of Korean guys clearly seeking shelter after golfing in the afternoon. The four-somes all had tables groaning with food, but regular tables with kitchen-made dishes.

If you like Korean food, check out the H Mart and Shin Chon Garden, which is renovating in June 2008.

Bethany 40 Shopping Center
10194 Baltimore National Parkway
Ellicott City, MD 21042

NEAR: On the north side of Rte 40 west of Rte 29. It is west of the Enchanted Forest shopping area. If you're driving west, you pass Enchanted Forest, then a wooded area, then the Bethany 40 shopping center is on the right.

Mirocjo on Urbanspoon

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