Wu Chon House in Union Square, Somerville
Started with mung bean pancake which was greasy and heavy -- not a great start, but luckily things improved from there. The panchan delivered with our mains was very fresh and quite generous. Two kinds of kim chi, two kinds of mung bean salad, cold brocoli with that thousand island dressing, tiny fish of some sort, some sweet soy beans....other things I'm forgetting.
The cold buckwheat noodle soup (in cold beef broth) was perfect for the heat of the day. Slices of daikon and asian pear gave a nice fresh crunch, and the broth itself was delicous. Our server cut the noodles and then showed us how to doctor up the broth with mustard and vinegar. The result was even more delicous. I've never had this dish before but I'll have it again.
Finally, my favorite item of the day -- spicy soft tofu and seafood soup. This is all about the texture, with the tofu melting in the mouth like a custardy pudding -- small pieces of octopus and maybe some tiny shrimp. One littleneck clam open in the bottom of the bowl. The red broth was spicy but not overwhelmingly so. Brought to the table still sizzling the heat of the soup was actually a great foil to the temperature outside.
The decor at Wu Chon house does nothing for me (Seoul food on Mass Ave is so much nicer), but the food was great. Now I need to compare to Byuk Kyung (sp?) up the street.
Remember -- Korean food is your friend in the heat. Try it and see.
I love the spicy tofu and seafood soup (seafood soon dofu jigae) at WuChon. So much flavor and somehow refreshing in the heat. I agree about the pancake. It did nothing for me. Kind of wasted calories but the cold noodles were delicious. I thought the service was a little strange. A lot of hovering in the beginning, with the cutting of the noodles and constant inquiries about how we liked the food. But, when we were finished eating, no one was to be found.
I am also a big fan of Hometown/Buk Kyung down the street. I love their home made noodles, either with the meat sauce or in the seafood jambong. But WuChong has better panchan and better soon dobu jigae.
Wu Chon House is my favourite Korean restaurant in the area, although Koreana comes a close second. I would recommend the ya chae pajon over the bin dae dduk (that is the vegetable pancake over the mung bean pancake), they have excellent duk bok ki (rice sticks), and their barbecue dishes are second to done. I also think they have the most interesting panchan of any of the Korean restaurants around. You may also enjoy other interesting dishes like gool bo sam (oysters and pork belly), yook hwe (Korean steak tartare), and ju mul luk (spicy bulgogi).
Koreana also does a range of really excellent dishes, and I had a fine meal at Buk Kyung II last night, with the best neng myung I've had in Boston.
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't been to Hometown/Buk Kyung I, but I should. :)
I'm not as big a fan of Seoul Food in Porter Square (although the people there are incredibly nice), but they do have excellent bibimbap. Kaya I think is decidedly inferior, but stays open very late, and has the best Ginger, Green Tea and Red Bean ice cream I've had in Boston.
Also, Ma Soba, the pan-Asian restaurant on Cambridge Street (near Charles/MGH) in Boston, is run by Koreans and has really exceptional kalbi (beef shortribs).