Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cham Bistro - CHAMtail Hour

Well, I finally did it. I ate at Cham Bistro, the Korean darling of the Pasadena food scene, but instead of a full meal, I stopped in for their weekday CHAMtail Hour when their tapas, beer and wine are 15% off (regular prices noted below - the tapas are part of their full menu)!

Cham Toppoki
Bulgogi beef topokki ($5): loved how tender the rice cakes were, but the beef and sauce packed quite the salty wallop.

Cham Pork belly
Crispy pork belly with fingerling potatoes ($5): the pork belly worked well with the gochujang sauce and potatoes, but the dish was served lukewarm. I would order it again in the hopes of it being served at a hotter temperature.

I had wanted to try the kimchi and cheese pouch, but they were sadly unavailable, so I ordered the spicy chicken and arugula steamed bun, which isn't part of the tapas section, but as they gave me 15% off my entire check, this item was discounted, too. When there was a mixup and I didn't get my steamed bun with my first two dishes, the staff gave me free spicy tuna tofu pockets while I waited!

Cham spicy tuna tofu pocket
Loved every single component, even the seasoned rice, which is sometimes given short shrift. I've stopped ordering spicy tuna rolls in restaurants in an attempt to make sustainable fish choices (some places may use albacore tuna for those rolls, but I just decided to cover my bases by not ordering unless noted as such), but these were gifts and already on the table. So, I ate them and they were awesome.

Cham Spicy chicken arugula steamed bun
Spicy chicken BBQ and arugula steamed bun ($3): I was pretty stuffed by this point, so I focused my efforts on the chicken, which actually lived up to its name on the spice level (color me surprised!).

Cham Bistro has got two things going for it: the dishes aren't diluted past the point of recognition, so the integrity of the Korean cuisine hasn't completely left the building, and the order-at-the-counter setup is easy breezy, allowing people to take a moment to enjoy their meal or grab their food and go, which has to be appealing to the college students and families alike in the neighborhood. I really enjoyed my Korean tapas (admittedly, I am not used to throwing this phrase around yet) and can't wait to go back for lunch or dinner.

Cham Bistro
*CHAMtail Hour (Mon - Fri: 3pm - 6:30pm)
851 Cordova St
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 792-2474


K and S said...

looks delicious!

Anne said...

I LOVE this place, especially the bi bim bap. I'm dying to try those little rice cakes- they seem so up my alley. By the way- I am going to email you about an event (food related) tomorrow so please keep an eye out for an email from Anne!

Gastronomer said...

Holla at me the next time you hit up Cham. I LOVE this place and would love to join you :-) Woo hoo!

Marie said...

Kat: Thanks! I was quite full afterwards.

Anne: Try the rice cakes! I must try their bi bim bap. Look forward to your email!

Gastronomer: For sure, would love to see you! Your enthusiasm for Cham kept it on my radar; really glad I finally went.

Stephanie said...

Ooo, everything looked delicious! I've never heard of Korean "tapas" but I'm really digging the idea. :-P It's my kind of evening really, nibbling on a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Yum.

Marie said...

Stephanie: I love eating that way, too! Can add quickly however, especially when chatting away with friends, ha.

weezermonkey said...

Ooh, if you like, maybe I will like!

Marie said...

Weezermonkey: I think you will! Maybe next time you find yourself in Pasadena. It's very casual, but pretty unique in its approachability + good Korean food combo.

Eddie Lin said...

CHAM is great! I need to go back.

kish said...

this place looks amazing.

first time reader.

now following :)

Marie said...

Eddie: I'm looking forward to my next visit!

Kish: Thanks for stopping by!