With no restaurant ownership experience to speak of, Saint Joseph’s University grad Paul Kong has done an impressive job of morphing the former Fellini Cafe Trattoria into the sleek and sassy 50-seat Bam Bam Kitchen. The restaurant’s funky urban feel has enlivened its block of downtown Ardmore, and the kitchen offers a rare taste of authentic Korean cuisine.
“Korean fare is unique for its balance—it’s the yin-yang approach,” says Kong. “Think sweet and sour, salty and bitter—and a riot of color. Pickling and fermentation are widely used.”
Bam Bam’s energetic servers are happy to help you decipher the native Korean entrees, which include bibimbop—a sizzling stone bowl with a colorful mosaic of seasoned toppers (cucumber, seaweed, greens and carrots) and protein (fish, chicken, short ribs or tofu) over rice. House sauces provide a kick.
Shareable appetizers include the finger-shaped royal roll, the savory mung bean pancake, and the crispiest fried chicken wings you’ll find. Classic Korean sides rotate daily, with selections like dried squid, seaweed salad and stir-fried kimchi. Diners are also treated to a complimentary house side dish that changes daily. We sampled the oyster mushroom salad, a stir-fried fish cake and a Korean-style egg omelette.
Cloudy and comforting, the soups include kimchi jjigae, yukgaejang (spicy beef) and traditional dumpling (mandu). And don’t you dare leave without trying the tempura-fried ice cream.
31 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (484) 844-7827.