A large plurality of my life’s subway trips have ended at Finch station. I grew up nearby and went to high school a short walk from North York Centre station. But still there are stretches of College or Queen where I have made a more careful survey of the eating options compared with the part of Yonge where the subway starts to peters out.
The Metropasser and its mission to tour our stomachs around the outside-the-core stretches of the TTC system seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit one of my favourite Korean joints along the Yonge line, where the addresses get to the high 5000s.
When you come out of the Finch station exit you do have to cross Finch to get to Nak Won, but that’s just because there isn’t an exit on the south side.
The fried chicken is the perfect way to start any meal. Make sure to get the Chicken Katsu ($8.99, #26) served ingeniously on a little rack so that the breading stays crisp. On my second visit it came mixed into a bowl of rice that had the exact opposite effect.
From there move next to bibimbap but spend the extra dollar and get the Dolsot Bibimbap ($8.99). In the heated stone bowl the rice acquires that delicious crust that puts this dish in lofty company with Spain’s paella. Nak Won is known as one of the most generous establishments with those condiments and accompaniments that come with the bibimbap.
The Haemool Pahjun (seafood pancake $12.99) was a surprising hit, featuring a heavy dose of cooked-just-right shellfish.
The sign out front advertises table B.B.Q. but as far as I can tell it’s just the portable table-top units and not the more exciting built-in version.
Service can be variable. Sometimes professional and fast, but at other times surly and downright dangerous when an allergy check is misunderstood.
With full bellies we completed the “when in Seoul” perfecta by heading next door to Twister Karaoke. There the lemon soju (Korea’s national spirit mixed with concentrated lemonade and served by the plastic pitcher) is the social lubricant of choice.
I submit that many of those who pack their passport to travel north of Bloor and use 905 as a derogatory epithet would be surprised by how late the parties goes and how well-fed revellers are here, just a few blocks south of Steeles.
5594 Yonge St.
North York, ON M2N 5S2
5586 Yonge St.
North York, ON M2N 5S2
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.