If you’ve been keeping up with my articles so far, you’ve probably noticed that I genuinely enjoy spicy food. Spice is nice, what can I say? I also really enjoy Asian cuisine because I too was once a weeb child. (Listen here, I know some of you are still out there, we have a support group that meets Fridays if you’re interested.) To combine these two wonderful things in one plate, I like to eat at Korean restaurants. I’ve tried a few Korean shops in the Rochester area, but nothing beats the quality and pricing of Sodam Korean Restaurant.
Sodam is a little Korean shop hidden deep in a network of poorly lit warehouse offices in Henrietta. Yes, getting there is as creepy and suspicious as it sounds, but surprisingly, there is an actual restaurant in this office space. Even more surprising, the restaurant is super modern on the inside, with a huge warehouse space and slick furniture to fill it out. They even have a sushi bar in the middle of the place, which is separate from most of the other seating areas, giving it a meta, shop-within-a shop feel.
If you’ve never eaten at a Korean place, then let me key you in on what they’re all about. Wherever you go to a Korean place, they’ll give you two things for free. The first is a kettle of some standard tea to drink down along with your meal, and the second is banchan, which is an assortment of small plates containing things like kimchi, seaweed salad, and namul (a bean sprout). When bringing a group of friends to eat at a place like this, the banchan helps kill time and start conversation until the orders start to arrive.
On this trip to Sodam, I got myself a spicy sesame bulgogi plate. This was basically a combination of pork and squid sprinkled in sesame seeds, laid down on top of a bed of fresh vegetables, all served on a sizzling hot plate, crackling with heat while being brought to my table. On the side was a bowl of plain rice that that you can put slices of spicy meat on.. The rice absorbs the sauce from the meats and becomes its own extra specialty meal.
My table ordered a couple of jjampong bowls, which are basically giants spicy broth bowls filled to the brim with mussels, shrimp, and noodles. I took the opportunity to swipe some of the broth I was handed by the others at the table and dump it into my rice. That broth ended up being spicier than my actual meal, but my god did it turn the rice bowl into an amazing spice bowl.
Each plate we ordered only cost about $13 each, so the price is no big deal. The only negative of Sodam is that, being, you know, in the middle of a sketchy warehouse office space in the middle of Henrietta, it might be a bit hard to get to. My recommendation is to hop the Green Line toward Wegmans, then hop off, call up an Uber, and get there in about two minutes. This might cost you about $14 for a there-and-back ride from Wegmans, but if you bring a big group (like 6 to 8 people), you can make it affordable. I’m telling you, it’s worth it. There isn’t any other Korean place around Rochester like it, and the novelty of going to a sketchy warehouse restaurant is always fun to explain to people.