I can say with confidence the Korean cuisine at Seoul Bistro is the real deal and equal to any found in this part of the country.

I also can say these folks know how to cook an American doughnut with the best of them.

It's a long story, but in the short version, eight years ago Mary and James Kim decided they weren't happy with the education their daughter, Soo, and son, Kyle, were receiving in South Korea. They decided to move to Dallas, where Mary Kim's sister resided.

" 'Stop' and 'go' were about the only words any of us knew," said Kyle, who, with the others in his family, now speaks excellent English.

James Kim was an architectural engineer for 16 years. When Kyle fell and suffered a compound fracture of his arm, the hospital bill came to $18,000 (the Kims had no insurance), and James Kim looked for a higher-paying job to help pay off the bill.

He found one as a baker in a doughnut shop in Tulsa, and the owner wound up selling the Kims one of his existing stores. Today, the Kims have four doughnut shops and recently added Seoul Bistro restaurant.

"I found out I liked the physical work of making doughnuts," James Kim said. "But we knew we could make Korean food even better."

Galbi ($12.99) included a mound (more than 20 thin slices) of marinated grilled beef short ribs topped with green onions and a soy barbecue sauce.

An appetizer of fried dumplings ($5.99), which I recall as yakimondu in South Korea, was stuffed with veggies and pork. Complimentary dishes - typical for Korean restaurants - included spicy tofu, pickled peppers and onions, spicy-hot kimchi and small vegetable pancakes with green onion, carrots and corn.

Mary Kim makes the salad dressings and many of the menu items, in addition to serving as a gracious hostess in the dining room.


SEOUL BISTRO

3161 S. 129th East Ave.

960-2890

11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Kim's Donut

In addition to Seoul Bistro, located on the southeast corner of 31st Street and 129th East Avenue, Mary and James Kim also operate four Kim's Donut shops at

  • 7133 S. Mingo Road

  • 6940 S. Lewis Ave.

  • 4955 S. Memorial Drive

  • 2004 W. Houston St., Broken Arrow


Scott Cherry 581-8463

scott.cherry@tulsaworld.com