Best Dolsot Bibimbap?
Since Korean has come up so much of late, and there is a chill in the air, I'd like to know the place to have the best of this great rice dish made better by firing in a clay/iron pot to create a nice "raspa" around the edges. I us. go to Garden Buffet, but dolsot bibimbap is an essentially made-to-order dish that they don't have on the steam table.
Yep, Stone Bowl is the literal translation of Dolsot, although cast-iron bowls and pottery bowls are commonly used. I've had it in a carved granite dish once, served on a slice of a log that was charred from contact with the hot stone bowl! BTW, I'm living in Seoul, so I can't tell you where you'd find granite bowls in Chicago...LOL. That granite bowl was in a restaurant in the basement of a store in Namdaemun Market.
Off the top of my head I would say Lincoln Noodle House on Lincoln and the Tofu House on Bryn Mawr. LNH has Bimimbap on the menu, but not the stone pot with the crusty rice version. You have to ask for the stone pot version, which, given the language barrier, is sometimes difficult. If you do manage to order the Stone Pot (is that what Dolsot means?) bimimbap at LNH you will be amply rewarded with delicious crusty rice.
Tofu House on Bryn Mawr, in addition too many types of soup, has a crusty rice version of bibimbap which I enjoy. Tofu House also serves rice in a stone pot along with most of their soups.
VI posted review of Tofu House a while back, with a link to a Monica Eng review, I will link to VI's.
The best bibimbap in a stone (metal?) pot was at the 24-hour Korean restaurant on Lawrence, but I have not been back since they reopened from a lengthy (over a year) hiatus.
So Gong Dong Tofu House
3307 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Lincoln Noodle House
5862 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL. 60659
My review of LNH
re: G Wiv
Thanks. I'm with you on the Korean Restaurant (24 hrs), although I'd hoped that someone would reveal a better, perhaps cleaner alternative. (I love it but the family is not a huge fan of the ambiance.) BTW, the "dol sot" or similar refers to the heavy cooking vessel, as I understand it.
I second the Lincoln Noodle House nomination! Both Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop and Bi Bim Bop are on the menu and excellent (you'll pay $1 more for the stone pot, or dol sot, version but it's worth it!).
I forgot about Jang Mo Nim, youre right, the dol sot bibimbop is quite good there. I like the panchan selection, service is pretty good, tables are comfortable, and, even though they use a gas flame for the kalbi, it's tasty. I also like the dipping sauce they serve with the kalbi, a mix of sesame oil and salt, similar to what Woo Chon serves, though not Hai Woon Dae.
Jang Mo Nim
6320 N Lincoln
Chicago IL, 60659
I fired off an email to Gary and Zim earlier to see if they remembered the name of this place but I just found the business card. (Thanks anyway, G & Z)
San Chae is on a small strip mall on the south side of Lawrence, about 4 blocks or so west of Kimball and perhaps 1 or 2 east of Hamlin.
As you face the strip mall, it's the restaurant (or what looks the most like a restaurant) to the left. There is another Korean on this mall, called Dook Bae Gee. Neither has a sign up front in English. In fact, if I remember correctly, Dook Bae Gee doesn't even have a sign in Korean (or perhaps a very small one): it's just a door and drawn shutters/blinds behind the glass pane.
As far as I know, San Chae has never been written up or reviewed anywhere. I have not been here in over a year but assume it's still run the same way by the same folks. (Such places are seemingly eternal.) It's brightly-lit inside, very neat, very homey, with about a dozen or so tables (almost always full of Koreans) inside. The waitresses don't speak English but they are very friendly and with a basic knowledge of Korean dishes, it is not too hard to figure out the menu here.
They do not have a to-go menu so I cannot jog my memory at the moment as to what I have had from it. I remember always coming out happy after my meals here. I am almost certain I have had an excellent dolsot from here (I think one with tiny shrimp and octopus) although I cannot say more about it as it was so long ago.
The variety of panchan offered is always excellent. I always sit at the big round table near the door to the kitchen so that I could take a peek at the carts as they come out (and also to watch Korean TV). The owner (?) is always at the next table cutting up vegetables for panchan or plucking off bean sprout roots.
Maybe Paul, Gary or Zim could say a bit more about this place than I can.
San Chae Dolsot Restaurant
3737 W. Lawrence Ave.
re: Paul Tyksins
There were two Korean restaurants at that address, 3737, they all have the same address differentiated by a, b c, etc, One is now a karaoke bar, the other is San Chae Dolsot. In the same mini strip mall there is also a real estate office and a, I am assuming, Middle Eastern restaurant named Nefertiti Café.
We had dinner at San Chae Dolsot last night and I took a few pictures, which I will post.