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Sunday
Mar252012

EDO: Korean Fare in Norwalk

In the window of Edo there’s a New York Times review from 2004 that touts the virtues of Edo’s sushi, but that’s not the reason why we came. Sushi or Japanese food is not the reason to go to Edo. Sure, its name is Japanese, but we were there for the Korean fare. Like so many Asian restaurants in Fairfield County, Edo tries to squeeze multiple cultures into a single venue which isn’t always for the best, but go to Edo for the Korean dishes. You'll be happy you did. 

The restaurant is in a large space, located at a random stripmall in what feels like the middle of Nowhere, Norwalk. The singular landmark is it’s a few buildings away from the DMV. Don’t let this deter you. Once inside, the restaurant, is spare and simple, adorned with blond wood and navy panels. Very Japanese. It’s also a bit dark inside, but that will just keep you focused on the food.

We did try a sampling of the sushi--salmon, yellowtail, and tuna--but it isn’t noteworthy. The rice was overseasoned and a bit mushy, and the fish, while fresh enough, was sinewy. The accompanying pickled ginger was a ghastly reddish pink color and tasted like air freshener. But things get better from here.

To begin, an assortment of tiny bowls is set before you like a miniature smorgasbord. One bowl is filled with bright yellow pickled turnip dotted with sesame seeds, another with tiny leaves of stir fried bok choy, there’s also slivers of firm, meaty tofu lightly seasoned with toasted sesame oil and fish sauce, a cold and crunchy bean thread salad, and kimchi, fermented napa cabbage that’s pungent and full of heat. It’s a party for the palate before your meal even begins.

Standouts include the Sizzling Stone Rice Bowls, a version of bibimbap (dolsot bibimbap), the mixed rice dish that is a signature Korean specialty. There’s a cold version with beef and vegetables, but hot it’s even better. Gob Dol, a choice of beef, pork, chicken, or tofu comes with a combination of vegetables--cucumber, spinach, and mung bean sprouts--and is topped with an optional fried egg. The stone pot retains heat, forming a crisp crust of rice on the bottom. Mixed with goshujang, a chili pepper paste that packs pleasant heat and a bit of sweetness, together it’s a satisfying combination of umami and texture. A Bulgogi version, tender marinated barbecued beef, is a must for the meat lover, as it comes without any vegetables. My favorite, Spicy Pork with Kimchi, topped with a tangle of watercress and chopped romaine, and underneath slices of pork marinated bulgogi style, each bite punctuated with a hit of kimchi. Seafood Gobdol was less successful. The sizzling treatment wasn’t kind to the seafood which ended up tough and rubbery.

Soup Meals are absolutely worth a try. Soon Tofu was completely addictive. We ordered the spicy version, whichhad a haunting smokiness and a pleasant heat, filled with cubes of silky tofu and bites of seafood and mushrooms. Yuk Gae Jang, also spicy, was a bowlful of shredded beef brisket, scallion, bean sprouts, and slippery, glassy potato noodles in a rich, satisfying beef broth. But if dumplings are what you crave, the Man Doo Guk is a must. Oversized handmade dumplings made from opaque potato noodle and inside, a delicate pork and vegetable filling with hints of ginger, scallion, and sesame oil. The chicken-enriched broth was full bodied yet light, with those wonderfully glossy potato noodles, fried shallots and egg.

 

While there are many multicultural and confused Asian restaurants in Fairfield, good Korean fare is harder to find, and regardless of its name, Edo has it. So skip the sushi and negimaki and go for what Edo does well and very well at that. 

Edo

Japanese & Korean Restaurant

666 Main Avenue

203-750-0623

www.EdoNorwalk.com

Edo Japanese & Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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    Lovely Site, Continue the great job. Thanks for your time.

Reader Comments (9)

YUM. Thanks for the tip. Will head on over soon!

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Rueven

Thanks for this reminder. The nibbles at the beginning are called banchan, and are a traditional part of a Korean meal. My favorite Korean dish is ojinguh bokkeum, or spicy squid with vegetables, and they do a passable version of it here, but it sounds like on my next visit I need to try the dolsot bibimbap.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTravels4Food

I had a very nice experience here. The wait staff was very friendly and did everything to please. We had the BBQ beef short ribs, which were very good, and it was also served with all the nibbles (or banchan). They cooked the beef for you, as opposed to grilling it yourself, like you might get in the Koreatown area in NYC. Very tasty!

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Y

My family enjoys our frequent visits to Edo. We have always gone there specifically for the Korean food, a cuisine that is both underrated and under-represented in Fairfield County. The positive review is line with our opinions of the restaurant.

It is a sad commentary on our local dining scene that various ethnic groups have felt the commercial need to hide behind a more mainstream cuisine. Greek pizzerias and the numerous sushi bars run by Chinese and other non-Japanese Asians may be commercially sensible, but they both appeal to and perpetuate diners' diminished expectations of popular food genres.

My rule of thumb when I see a sushi bar is this - check out the other items on the menu. I tend to avoid the sushi when I see predominantly Chinese or "Pan-Asian" items among the entrees. The sushi may be good, but the restaurant is most likely has non-Japanese owners who feature sushi only because local customers have become confused about the differences between Asian cultures. When I see mainly Korean items, as I do in Edo, I may order sashimi, (which is commonly enjoyed as an appetizer in Korea), but stick to the Korean dishes anyway, since that is obviously the owner's native expertise.

I'm still eagerly awaiting a new Chinese restaurant that eschews sushi, pad thai, and other popular asian dishes while focusing on the more unfamiliar and delicious dishes that I enjoy in the Chinatowns of Manhattan and Flushing.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteveSCT

To clarify, Edo's location is hardly in the middle of nowhere. I'll chalk that one up to artistic license. It's just north of the (dreaded) Wmart, but more importantly, it's in the same strip mall as two other local gems. One of the area's best pizza shop -- Letizia's is present, as well as Fairfield County's best pie store Michelle's Pies, is a door down. Enjoy!

April 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersofaman

Didn't Michelle's Pies move to Westport?

April 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Michelle's Pies expanded into Westport.

April 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersofaman

Edo is in Norwalk, just south of the Wilton line. I love ordering my lunch/dinner (usually the Sizzling Stone Rice Bowl, tofu) to go and then stopping next door for one or two of Michelle's pies. Irresistable!

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I went to Edo's today, and the salmon teriyaki was fantastic - I love getting the fish dishes at restaurants that serve sushi....because the fish is unbelievably fresh.

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHMHN

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