Dick Blomster's Korean Diner, the Korean-fusion pop-up that opened two years ago inside Pat's Diner in Guerneville, took off thanks to the cool mix of old-timey diner decor and fiery, delicious food, part American comfort, part Korean classic. Tourists and locals alike dug the dive-bar-meets-seaweed vibe, late weekend hours and the "Kentucky fried crack."
Now, Blomster's has a second spot in Santa Rosa, inside Omelette Express in Railroad Square. Unlike dark and hokey Pat's, the new space is expansive and well lit, though it lacks the Guerneville location's sense of adventure and is not as suited for after-hours fun.
The banchan ($5), little plates of kimchi, pickled mushrooms, jalapeno and garlic, are crisp and pungent as ever. The pierogies ($7.50), savory pies filled with kimchi and puréed potatoes on a puddle of plum sauce, are plumper, bigger and better than I remembered; the chilled bowl of soba noodles ($10) is served in a bigger portion too.
The whiskey knockoff filet mignon ($22.50) comes loaded with trumpet mushrooms, a side of pickled daikon and a sesame seed rice medallion, but the rice patty isn't as crisp and sticky as it is at the original location. A crucial change has also been made to the hamburger ($15). Instead of the sturdy, crunchy roll from Forestville's Nightingale Breads, the excellent patty, complete with Blomster's signature add-ons of American cheese, seaweed, spicy mayo and fried pickles, rests on a slightly soggy, sweet brioche hamburger bun. As the burger goes, so does the new Blomster's: not as good as the original. 112 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707.869.8006.