SOUTH OGDEN — When I asked Mehe Williams why she decided to leave her job as a general contractor for a new gig as a chef, she said she did it because it made her happy.
Williams opened Korean Bistro, 458 40th St., in April and said business is going well and that the flow of clients has been increasing.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Williams said. “I like that a lot of people come here and leave notes and say ‘This is good!’”
And they are right. The food is good, and I think it has to be in part because the chef — Williams — was born in Korea and carries the home recipes that make certain dishes feel magical.
I tried the beef bulgogi, tansgu chicken, and stir-fry pork belly after Williams told me I needed to try it all.
The beef bulgogi, a Korean marinated beef on a skillet, was tender and juicy. The beef was cut in thin slices, giving me a chance to enjoy its flavor without worrying about choking.
The tangsu chicken is a sweet and sour chicken, a little different from sweet and sour chicken found at other places. Williams said it’s not like other sweet and sour chicken because of the tangsu sauce.
The chicken is tasty, but the texture is very crispy, and could be considered hard by some.
And then there is the stir-fry pork belly. Williams had told me it’s one of her favorite dishes but that it was spicy. I don’t do spicy, so the idea of trying it terrified me.
I’m glad I did. The pork was also tender, presented in thin slices, and the spice was completely bearable. I would definitely recommend the dish.
And don’t forget the rice — a sweet, purple-colored rice.
Williams said the rice has that color because she mixes white rice with black rice. According to an NPR news story, the black rice is associated with multiple positive health benefits, including better insulin regulation.
Besides rice, the plates also included soybean sprouts, spicy cucumbers, and sweet and spicy radish salad.
Korean Bistro is open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. It’s also open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
If you ask me what is the best part of Korean Bistro, I would say it has to be the environment. The outside of the building looks like a home, so it is inevitable that when you go in, you expect to be treated like family.
The place is small and cozy, and Williams often comes out of the kitchen to talk to the customers about food. She is very attentive — even calling some customers by name.
“When you go into a big restaurant, you walk in, you see a lot of people and (hear) a lot of noise,” Williams said. “Here is just quiet, family (oriented). It gives you a warm feeling here.”