Here’s to continuing my streak of checking out all the Korean restaurants in YEG. One of my pre-pandemic ventures was a visit to Machef. In comparison to other Korean spots, Machef does offer a smaller menu but don’t let that stop you from checking them out. The food is really good and the service/atmosphere was friendly and inviting! What’s not to like?
While Machef did close for a bit (which resulted in me delaying this blog post), they have reopened their doors for dine in (social distancing measures in effect) and they’re also offering takeout, as well as delivery through a variety of partner apps.
Located in the Lendrum plaza, Machef is easily recognizable with its yellow signage and smiling logo. After being seated, service here was very quick and attentive. With only so many options to choose from, ordering did not take too long at all. During my visit with friends, I got to try the Yukhoe (raw beef salad), the Rocky Mountain Bulgogi, and the Korean Style Pork Cutlet.
The Yukhoe ($13) was similar to a beef tartare and presentation was very unique. Being enclosed in glass dome when served, the meat was infused with a really nice smoky flavour. There were hints of sesame alongside the smokiness and despite it being raw, the beef was extremely tender. This was definitely an item I’d consider ordering again!
We also tried the Rocky Mountain Bulgogi ($37), which also came out so beautifully presented too. A stacked beef tower, tons of veggies, some noodles, and a large pot to share. After letting it simmer over a burner for a bit, we were able to dig in. The broth itself was admittedly a little lighter in flavour than most bulgogi soups I’ve tried, but it was still enjoyable and not too heavy. The portion is huge and despite sharing it among friends, it was quite filling.
The Korean Pork Cutlets ($16) were also delicious, although a bit disproportionate in terms of meat-rice ratio. The pork cutlet was huge! The pork was cooked well and remained crispy throughout the whole meal. However, I’d likely opt for another dish next time because it was nothing extraordinary and found it to be pretty similar to other Korean restaurants in the city.
One of the things that really stood out to me about Machef was how the owner/chef made rounds to each table to check-in with customers. It really demonstrated how attentive he was to the customer experience and it truly made the visit so much more memorable. With social distancing measures, maybe these visits will be less frequent but I’m sure the service and food will still be good, nonetheless.
Machef also offers rotating special dishes, so despite a smaller menu – you can expect something different every now and then. Check out their Instagram to stay updated on their announcements for special items.
All in all, I really enjoyed my visit to Machef and would certainly consider coming back again! But… there are some pros and cons that I have to point out, even when the food and service were excellent. Because they don’t offer a huge variety of Korean favourites, I’m not 100% confident in saying that Machef would become a regular spot for me since I tend to crave other Korean dishes as well (i.e. ones that are not offered here). Nonetheless, the food quality and the experience, overall, was definitely a step above other Korean restaurants I’ve visited so I think they’re still definitely a spot worth checking out. Sometimes it’s quality over quantity! If you’re okay with fewer options but love indulging in a select number of tasty, quality dishes, keep Machef in mind and pay them a visit.
Machef Korean Restaurant
5818 111 St NW, Edmonton