After a recent Midtown Lunch Happy Hour at Gingerman, I was starving after not being satisfied by a simple pretzel. So I grabbed the group that remained and we headed a few blocks to K-town and hit up BCD Tofu, which Hungry had been asking about a few weeks ago.
Per usual, they loaded us up on banchan, the complimentary dishes that precede meals at Korean restaurants. BCD Tofu is known to be extra generous, and this time was no exception.
Broccoli with some sort of spicy ketchup drizzled on top.
A scoop of mashed potatoes. I mean potato salad, but it might as well have been mashed potatoes for consistency.
A spicy… we weren’t sure what it was, but it was a bit gelatinous and slimy.
Slightly pickled cucumbers. Tasty and palate-cleansing between bites of spicy food.
Kimchi and gaduukki (I am spelling that wrong). Spicy fermented cabbage and radishes.
Another angle of the banchan!
And the reason most people mention how generous BCD Tofu is with their banchan: the whole (small) fried fish. I guess they ran out of flat square plates to put them on… I had a little trouble eating this on the small plate but as usual, it was pleasant enough.
Our shared appetizer of fried mandoo! Tasty enough, but I have my favorite places for mandoo, and this wasn’t better than that 😉
I ordered dolsot bibimbap, or hot clay/stone bowl bibimbap (bibimbap is mixed veggies and meat over rice). Dolsot means it’s served in a bowl so hot – don’t touch it when you get it, you’ll burn yourself – that the rice continues cooking until a crust forms, and it’s hot enough that when you mix everything through, the egg will cook too.
They also give you a dish of gochujang on the side, the Korean hot pepper paste. You mix in as much or as little as you like, and I stupidly mixed in just a bit too much, making it intolerably spicy for me. Unfortunately, the dolsot wasn’t quite hot enough and no rice crust ever formed on the inside of the bowl for me to scrape and eat merrily 🙁 This was not a good example of dolsot!
*I actually didn’t want a hot dish, I wanted to try naeng myun (sp?) for the first time, a cold noodle dish. But it’s seasonal and I guess the season hadn’t started yet.
Hungry ordered what BCD Tofu is known for: soondubu, or the seafood tofu soup. I’m not actually sure which one she ordered (you can get them with beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetarian), but I’m sure she’ll write about it on her blog for us to hear her opinion. (See her flashing the peace sign in the pic? That or trying unsuccessfully to flip me off…)
Blondie ordered a dish whose name I didn’t catch. I just know that it wound up being too spicy for her, sadly. I thought this was an interesting dish because of the cubes of plain tofu on the side – I wonder if those were to help tame a spicy mouth? Cool you down a bit?
Oddly, the dish that took the longest to come out… was the uncooked one! Beer Boor asked me to choose a dish for him, since he’s not very familiar with Korean food… unfortunately, neither am I. So I took a stab at one of the dish names, and I didn’t realize it was raw. I wasn’t even drinking that night!
Thinly sliced strips of rib eye, topped with an egg yolk, surrounded by thinly cut sticks of Asian pear and a bit of cucumber, a few leaves of lettuce. Basically, Korean steak tartare. I thought the flavors were very tasty – there was an abundance of sesame oil coating the strips of meat – and the Asian pear, eaten with the steak, was quite tasty (yes, I admit, I reached my chopsticks over more than once). However, the steak – and this may be why it took so long to come out – was still partially frozen. The meat was extremely cold, which made it difficult for the fat in the meat to melt in your mouth and really be the best it could be, I thought. There were ice crystals in some pieces as well. I enjoyed the dish, though I know Beer Boor didn’t – or at least not as much as I did – but both of us wouldn’t get this again. There are so many other dishes to order in a Korean restaurant, why bother with Korean steak tartare… I can get that at any very good steakhouse 🙂
Yvo says: Though this time was less than stellar all around it seems, I still enjoy BCD Tofu and would go back for tofu any time. The other dishes seem a bit hit or miss, so maybe I won’t just randomly pick off the menu next time… and will stick to tofu. Or make other people try dishes so I don’t have to take the flyer… 🙂
recommended for soondubu