Mirak Korean Restaurant is a brand new restaurant found on Buford Highway, in the same strip mall as Bakery Cafe Maum. It is so new that after I ate there, there was almost no information about it on the Internet. To be able to provide address and telephone information, I went back to the eatery and filched one of their two remaining business cards.

I don’t claim a great, or even passing knowledge of Korean cuisine. My wife likes kimchi, and routinely buys it. I like most pickles they serve, and in a pinch, I order bulgogi. Bulgogi is a beef based barbecue,  popular across cultures. For example, in Ryu Murakami’s novel, “In the Miso Soup“, the protagonist describes his job as being affluent enough to take his girlfriend to “Korean barbecue once in a while”. Thus it’s a safe order, in much the same way teriyaki steak is at a Japanese restaurant. If you want more specifics, Gene Lee’s site has a great article on bulgogi.

In any event, I really just wanted something to eat before I went to the bakery, so I wasn’t picky or trying to stretch my culinary limits. Never having been there before though, I pulled out my trusty camera and started taking photos at the appropriate moments.

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Mirak is pretty inside, with wooden tables stained a dark brown, and with some tables fitted with metal plates and overhead ducting to carry away the smoke of on table cooking. Tables are in rows, with some rows separated by a chin high wooden wall, and other rows separated by walls with spaced openings. I though upon entering they were private booths, but I think whole rows of tables are actually connected through a common space.

There is more on their menu than bulgogi. I recall bibimaps for about 6 dollars, and galbi as well (and that hardly scratches the surface of what they serve). But I stuck with the safe order and soon after pickles arrived.

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The green beans are nibbled on by the time this picture was taken.

The pickles were tasty by my standards. Then the bulgogi arrived. It tasted really good, tender and with a lot of flavor. Afterwards they gave me a bowl of a dessert punch. It was tasty, spicy, with distinct cinnamon notes, and reminiscent of a spiced apple cider. I suspect it’s sujunggwa, but I’m not one to be confirming that.

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Bulgogi - looks a bit like a fajita plate.

dessert punch, delicious and half finished

dessert punch, delicious and half finished

Afterwards I dropped over by Bakery Cafe Maum. This location looks like the turret of a castle, a bit formidable at first glance. Inside, it’s as much place to sit and chat as it is a place to buy food, with tables and stuffed chairs to sit in, and free wifi. I ordered just a few sweets, small rolls flavored with pumpkin, chocolate, and coffee. I also bought a roll that was stuffed (in part) with red bean curd. That’s what my wife really wants at a bakery of this kind, the bean curd desserts.

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chocolate left, pumpkin middle, coffee right. The large roll behind has bean curd, among other fillings.

I tried one of the coffee rolls. It was filled with a white paste, a bean paste I suspect, and if you let it linger on your tongue, a rich coffee flavor will fill your mouth. Delicious!

Verdict: Both Mirak and Bakery Cafe Maum are worth your time and trouble, excellent places to eat and to buy food. Highly Recommended.

Mirak Korean Restaurant
7130 Buford Highway Suite B-150
Doraville GA 30340
(770) 807-7249

Mirak Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Bakery Cafe Maum
7130 Buford Highway Suite A-180
Doraville GA, 30340
(770) 263-7447

Bakery Cafe Maum on Urbanspoon

Update: The Wikipedia has a good article on Korean cuisine, and one good enough to point out that what I’ve been calling pickles – many of those dishes are pickles, and seemed similar to Japanese tsukemono – are more aptly called banchan, or side dishes.

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