Soban Korean Eatery was our first venture in Korean food, and we wonder what took us so long.
The small, unassuming restaurant is located in the basement at 272 Thayer St. in Providence, a block from the Avon Theatre and one door down from Meeting St.
We knew we were in the right place when we noticed that most of the diners were Asian. The menu was printed on a large sign in both English and Korean.
You order at the counter, where the staff are very helpful and explain the unusual dishes, and then stop at a serving table for your utensils, napkins, cold water and hot broth.
Soban wings are a good way to start your dining adventure. They are lightly breaded, deep fried, and tossed in a sweet and spicy chili-soy-ginger sauce. (Six pieces for $7.25/Ten for $12.25)
We chose Mandu, homemade Korean style dumplings very similar to Chinese ravioli, served fried or steamed with chili-soy sauce. Eight pieces of veggie, kimchi or chicken are $6.99. Beef or shrimp are $7.99. We chose the delicious shrimp. (Kimchi is a tasty Korean vegetable).
Soban offers a variety of Stone Pot Bibimbaps, assorted seasonal vegetables sautéed and served over rice in a hot stone pot, with a fried egg and spicy chili paste ($11.99) Add spicy chicken marinated in a spicy chili-ginger sauce for a dollar more, or grilled sliced pork or rib eye for $2 more. I chose the chicken, and experienced a new taste. It stays hot and “hot” in the pot.
The variety of regular Bibimbaps are served in a bowl. Veggie, Mushroom and Tofu dishes are $10.99 while the chicken is $11.99 and meats $12.99.
There are a variety of soups, stews, and noodle and rice dishes. Joyce chose Jampong, Chinese style noodles with shrimp, mussels and tender squid in a spicy (and they mean spicy) chili broth ($11.99). They even give you more hot sauce to add.
We’ll return for the Korean BBQ, grilled, marinated chicken, pork, squid, or rib eye, with chili-ginger, or for the rib eye, soy-sesame sauce ($12.99 or $13.99), served with a side of rice and Korean side dishes.
Soban is a welcome addition to the wide variety of ethnic restaurants that have opened in Rhode Island. Give them a try.
Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Major credit cards accepted. Take out available. Call 751-1234.