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Mike Cohen joins the growing list of Korean BBQ fans at Restaurant Mon Ami

    For a few years now I have been driving by various Restaurant Mon Ami locations, wondering what was behind the doors. I knew they served Korean food, but that was about it.

    Michael Byung Sun Park does the cooking at  a table.

    When my friend Marcus called recently and invited me for lunch at the Restaurant Mon Ami location on Decarie Boulevard in St. Laurent, I happily took him up on the offer.

    The chain was established a few years back by Park Sang Chal, a man with great culinary skills and vision. Bringing in noted real estate expert and businessman Michael Byung Sun Park as his partner has placed Moni Ami on rapid road to growth and expansion.

    Born in Korea, Michael’s family left there when he was 11 and relocated to Chile in South America. At the age of 20 he came to Canada on his own and enrolled at Concordia to study commerce and marketing. His first job offer was at the Korean Exchange Bank, with a salary of $18,000 a year. That did not thrill him so he took courses to pursue his real estate license. It was a move that would ultimately connect him with Sang Chal and lead him into the restaurant business.

    Mon Ami presently has eight locations. There are sit down restaurants in St. Laurent, NDG (2), on Ste. Catherine Street downtown and in Brossard and Express counters in Longueil, Côte des Neiges and NDG. At least five more are about to open in Express format, notably one at the Complexe Desjardins food court and another downtown at Le Faubourg. “Food courts are the future for us,” he told me.

    The uniqueness of Mon Ami comes in the form of a large wok brought to your table and heated wirelessly. The menu offers choices of meats, vegetables, and their “famous” KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).  You will cook the raw meat yourself. Everything is perfectly well seasoned.

    We started things off with a bowl of Miso soup to share. It was very tasty.  So was the seafood and green onion pancake, shaped like small pieces of pizza. Then came the Hot Stone Bibimbap (a Korean rice dish), with spicy chicken. The term “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (a fermented soybean paste).  With a tall glass of water next to me I was able to enjoy this immensely.

    Michael did the honours of cooking the meat, adding in some mushrooms and onions. It was outstanding, only to be outdone by the fried chicken. All of the pieces of chicken are fried earlier in the day. When the order comes in they are fried again. “This way they are crispy, but not greasy from sitting in the same oil all day,” said Michael.

    The menu has a variety of chicken, beef and pork options, not to mention baby octopus, imperial rolls deep-fried shrimps and even Korean style sushi. Express counters are naturally more limited in their offerings.

    I would definitely recommend you drop by one of the locations.  Find the one closest to you at

    MON AMI ST-Laurent
    Adress: 747 Boul. Decarie, Montreal, QC, H4L 3L3

    Mike Cohen

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