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Which Korean Restaurant in the E. Valley?

The East Valley, by my count, now has at least six Korean-type restaurants. We will be in Chandler tomorrow night, and have a hankering for some kimchee and bulgoki. While we would prefer something a little nicer than formica tabletops, food is more important. Which one should we choose?

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  1. My vote goes to Takamatsu on the NW corner of Arizona Avenue and Elliott Rd. ;-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ggdinero

      Takamatsu does a great job, but I think their kalbi is much better than their bool kogi (as with most places I've been to).

      Hodori also does a tasty kalbi, but I believe they have the type of decor you're trying to avoid.

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      Takamatsu Restaurant
      1949 W Ray Rd # 32, Chandler, AZ

      Hodori Restaurant
      1116 S Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ

      1. re: IamJacksBrain

        Hodori used to be my favorite but I don't know why it keeps changing ownership and personnel over and over. I was last there months ago. The food was as good as ever, but they made me wait so long!

        I've never been to the Takamatsu in Chandler, but the Tucson branch is excellent.

    2. Manna Cafe (Michelle used to own Gomo on Ray) http://www.themannacafe.com/

      I also like Hodori. 1116 S. Dobson

      1. I second Manna Cafe, food is great and so is service. I think the tables were formica though

        2 Replies
        1. re: tivon

          How can they do Korean BBQ on formica tables?

          1. re: jkgourmet

            You don't do the BBQ yourself, they cook if for you and bring it out hot..

        2. Chodang Tofu & BBQ Just north of downtown Chandler on Arizona Avenue is excellent. The bulkogi is served sizzling hot, and the little appetizers that start the meal are delicious and varied. The interior has a modern, clean, spare look that feels Korean. It also has lunch specials, which is nice since I work in the area and now eat there quite often. My wife likes the tofu soups and never says no to a visit.

          Just tried Hodori a couple of weeks ago, and was disappointed. The bulkogi was lukewarm and grayish (it seemed more stewed than grilled) and the little appetizer plates unexciting except for the kimchee.

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          Chodang Tofu & BBQ
          1501 N Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ

          1. JK, which one did you end up going to? Disclaimer: I'm Korean American and would have recommended Takamatsu, esp. if you were wanting to grill bulgogi yourself. Please let us know- thanks!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Baxterita

              I'm embarassed to say that we ended up for both nights at La Stalla. What can I say? I've always really liked this place, and now that we've moved away to East Mesa, we wanted our pizza and pasta fix to last. Also enjoyed happy hour (good martini, appetizer and wine specials) at 98 South. That warm gorgonzola is a smashing idea!

              But we are going to visit Takamatsu soon. We used to go there often, then somehow got off the Korean kick. We have friends who feel the same way. So when we are all feeling the need for kimchee, that is where we will likely go. Bax, your recommendation klinches it!

              1. re: jkgourmet

                Hodori is a good location for me, so I usually end up there (no table top bbq tho). I tried the Kimchi Chigae (to be fair, only once and awhile back); it was pretty oily. The mandu was tasty, but eat while warm. Bulgogi has been consistently good, the kalbi was good the 1 time I ordered. I also go the the market next door for side dishes to eat at home.

                We went to Gomo's grand opening; the kimchi pancake was HUGE, but on the salty side. I'm not even sure if it is still there...Also, I've forgotten the name, but a few years ago, I tried a little korean place in Mesa (Alma School and Guadalupe maybe?), that had great samgyupsal.

                1. re: ekeel

                  FYI ekeel,

                  Gomo did go out to business. The Korean barbecue place on Alma School is named Korean Barbecue.

                  1. re: ekeel

                    "I also go to the market next door for side dishes to eat at home." Please - tell me more? These are different than what I can get at Lee-Lee, I hope? Especially, smaller packages?

                    1. re: jkgourmet

                      Too bad about Gomo! Still, many other places to try that I haven't.

                      I have only been to Lee-Lee's a few times, so I'm not too familiar with their selection. The market next to Hodori is a lot smaller than Lee Lee's, but as far as I can tell carries all korean products. There is a cold section in the back that has small containers of traditional sides like the spinach, sprouts, cucumber kimchi etc...all of the stuff my mom would put out for a meal. She came out for a visit last year, and we picked up some stuff from there (which she thought was a little salty, so we rinsed some items and re-incorporated sauce from the container) Sometimes they have larger dishes of jap chae to take, and usually packages of duk. Also, try the neon yellow marinated turnip kimchi- my childhood favorite!

                      I guess I should throw out that I'm only 1/2 korean and don't know all of the "real" names for these dishes.

                      The market also carries imported household goods, gifts and skincare products from Korea. It is fun to just walk the aisles and check stuff out. Hope that helps!