As a lover of all things food, I have a true appreciation for different cultures. I believe the best way to understand those differences are by somehow being part of that lifestyle. Luckily, Rhode Island is a blender that mixes all of the best foods from all over the world into one city known as Providence.
At Mokban, the customer is fully transformed into a Korean mindset. I had the pleasure of talking to the owner of the restaurant while enjoying my own traditional cuisine and complete cultural experience.The parents of the current owner first began a tiny restaurant known as “Solomon’s Market” on Benefit Street in Providence that offered great traditional Asian Cuisine. It then moved to downtown Providence on Westminster Street and was renamed “Teriyaki & Korean House”. Students from RISD, Brown, and Johnson & Wales traveled to the restaurant in search of casual dining, bubble tea, and various rice dishes.
However, after six years of business, a new transition was made. The Teriyaki and Korean House was renamed “Mokban” on January 5th and now solely focuses on Korean food. Instead of offering various dishes from all over the Asian countries, it was time to introduce Providence to the true traditions of Korea. Both chefs at Mokban graduated from Johnson & Wales University. As an alumni of JWU and major food addict, I can attest to their success in creating absolutely delicious traditional dishes to be loved by all.
To begin, the restaurant has the same original design and layout for the most part. Instead of being a place to grab a quick bite for nearby college students, they hope to now be known as a comfortable place to relax and unwind for people of all ages.
The menu has become more focused on tradition while still being extremely affordable. While trying to steer away from the casual Teriyaki and Korean House, Mokban now features more of an ambiance without feeling too upscale.
In Korea and also in European countries, gratuity is already included in the cost of the meal. At Mokban, they want you to really feel as though you are a direct part of the Korean culture so they do not even leave a place for you to add a tip after your meal. The staff does not want the customer to feel obligated to write a certain amount, although the service and presentation of the food is quite outstanding.
The seating arrangements include booths, bar seats, benches, and chairs. There are many different types of plants and light fixtures that add to the overall fresh and calm feel of the revamped restaurant. There are long tables so that you can sit around people you may not know and stir up a great conversation over your meal.
I told you the presentation was absolutely beautiful! My whole meal was served on a wooden tray. While indulging, I felt right at home and of course finished every bite.
I ordered a “Korean Classic” lunch. This means that your meal comes with complementary side dishes, the chefs special, and a rice or soup. This is like surprise food people, how exciting is that! Each selection is based upon the meal that you choose.
My sides included sweet potato, chicken, and daikon. The chefs special was a crispy calamari in a spicy sauce. I also had a clear broth soup with cabbage, tofu, and scallions.
My main dish was the Veg Fried Rice which includes zucchini, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and bell peppers which are all stir fried over rice. I chose the “purple rice” which is a mix of different types of rice. It is topped off with perfectly cooked asparagus.
Their drink menu features beer and wine, coffees and teas, and even a full list of traditional Korean beverages.
Start your cultural journey at Mokban:
They are open every day at 11:30 am and close at 10 pm (10:30 on Friday and Saturday).
217 Westminster Street, Providence RI 02903