Korea, America mix in a foodly way
By James Michael Polk, GLOB Guest Contributor
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to James for supplying GLOBers with his opinion on the lunch fare at Country Foodly.
One of my favorite things about eating out is trying a new place and, by the end of the meal, realizing that I have a new favorite restaurant. This happened to me recently when my wife and I parked in a strip mall on 34th St. just across from the YMCA. We were in search of a new brunch spot, so after a little research we decided on Country Foodly. This gem is nestled between a dry cleaner and a salon product store. You probably have driven by it a hundred times, which means you've been missing out. I learned that just like its unique name, Country Foodly serves some unique and delicious fare.
It was a little after 1 pm, about an hour before they closed, when we pulled into the parking lot. We sat at one of the booths and looked over the menu. One thing was very clear: This restaurant was having an identity crisis. Side by side with typical diner style breakfast and lunch dishes were a number of Korean inspired meals. Country fried steak shared the same page as a beef bulgogi omelet?!
My mind swirled with possibilities. Which style should I choose? Should I get breakfast or lunch? After much internal debating, two contestants emerged from a slurry of corned beef hash, fried dumplings, and korean tacos (all menu items). It was between the gourmet Korean Shin Ramen and one of my all-time weaknesses, chicken and waffles. Who am I kidding? It wasn't a hard call. I went with the chicken and waffles. Fortunately, my wife got the Shin Ramen (right). There is a complete Country Foodly menu at the restaurant link below this feature.
While we waited for our food, I took a better look around the room. Booths ringed the entire dining area, and the center was taken up with a table big enough to seat 24 people. The decor was "HomeGoods" kitsch, but not over the top, and a windo in the back wall gave us a view of the cooks making orders as they came in. I noticed that the walls were adorned with pictures of the food they served. Also, the noise volume wasn't overly loud, and my wife and I could converse without a problem. The waitress checked in regularly to fill our drinks, and in quick order our meals were served.
The portion size for my chicken and waffles was impressive to say the least (pic at top). The waffle was practically the size of the plate! Two pieces of perfectly golden fried boneless chicken breasts sat atop it, and a sweet smelling, honey-colored gravy was drizzled over the top. The first bite was spectacular. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy and moist on the inside. From the taste I would guess that it was hand battered. The crust was slightly airy, with mouth watering spices mixed in. The fresh made waffle complemented the chicken nicely. Light, fluffy with a good crunch on the outside. While eating I found the honey-colored gravy tasted of honey mustard. Strange, but it worked well!
I was able to steal a bite of the ramen from my wife to see how they fared with the Korean side of their menu. That one bite made me reconsider everything I thought about ramen being only a college dorm room dish. Fresh broccoli and spinach floated in a warm spicy broth supported by a cleaner tasting version of the grocery store ramen noodle. It was so good, I tried to duplicate it with partial success for dinner the rest of the week.
Overall, Country Foodly impressed me. I couldn't think of two food types that would be more opposite, but the Korean and diner foods cohabited the restaurant like roommates that were old friends. I look forward to returning and trying their Korean tacos, or corned beef hash, or maybe get a bowl of the shin ramen for myself........
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- Phone Number: 377-7863
- Address: 5240 NW 34th St., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: 34th Street
- Web Site: Country Foodly
- Latitude: 29.702663
- Longitude: -82.366157