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BCD Tofu House - solid addition to ktown

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  • Lau Oct 4, 2008 06:00 PM
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We stopped by ktown today and it happened that BCD is now open. BCD is the branch of an LA chain that specializes in Soon Doo Boo (there are a bunch in LA and ive been to most of them; they are not the best soon doo boo places in LA, but are definitely good); I believe there is a branch in flushing as well. It's in the old Dae Dong space on 32nd st. I don't think its been open for more than a few days max, their official 24 hr schedule starts on Oct 6th.

The inside is very new and trendy, BCD funny enough is almost definitely the nicest restaurant in ktown decor wise. Its all sort of dark wood and stone. Service was brisk and fine. The menu (smartly) is short and mainly consists of a few apps, a bunch of soon doo boo dishes, bbq and a small section of some other random dishes.

Here's what we got:
- Soon doo boo (spicy tofu stew): i got kimchi and beef and my gf got kimchi and pork; they are almost the same, but id recommend getting pork as it was much more tender; the beef was a bit tough. The soup broth was good although not as spicy as I like, but I thought the flavor was much better than Seoul Garden. I also liked their tofu much better than Seoul Garden as it was nice and very silky. Overall, we both said that this was def better than Seoul Garden and when we want soon doo boo (other than making it ourselves) this is the best place in ktown
- Haemul Pajun (seafood pancake): this was decent although they skimped on the seafood and it wasn't as crispy as I prefer it to be

Overall, as I said previously this is definitely better quality than Seoul Garden and the place is alot nicer as well (don't think there is much price differential). Would recommend if you like soon doo boo.

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  1. thanks for the report...i'll go there soon...(perfect food as the weather gets chilly)

    1. Appreciate the report, Lau. I'll be checking it out. Walked by a week ago, and the hostess told me it was opening day. I'd already eaten, so I just grabbed a business card (and later started the Chow place page).

      I'm with you on Seoul Garden; I've had pretty crummy soon dubu there. But I've enjoyed Cho Dang Gol on 35th. Is BCD way better?

      -----
      Cho Dang Gol
      55 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

      Seoul Garden
      34 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

      BCD Tofu House
      17 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

      1 Reply
      1. re: squid kun

        well to be fair there is something that is sort of strange about cho dang gol's soon doo boo, it's sort of different than the regular one and I don't think it clicks with my tastes, so i liked BCD better. I have met people who really like the version at cho dang gol, so it could be a function of my taste

        the one thing about all the places is that i dont think their broth is totally right, the version we make at home has much better broth and some of the places i go to in LA have much better broth (beverly or so kong dong). that said the quality of their to doo boo is better than the quality of the doo boo we use at home

      2. Thanks for the news! While not the best soon tofu in LA, BCD certainly was better than Seoul Garden in NYC.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle

          this place is certainly a nice addition to ktown, its a good quality soon doo boo place which was much needed as seoul garden does not cut it....funny enough many yrs ago when i was in college seoul garden was actually pretty decent, but then they changed ownership and its been pretty mediocre ever since

          1. re: Lau

            > seoul garden was actually pretty decent, but then they changed ownership and its been pretty mediocre ever since

            Wasn't it once related to the Book Chang Dongs in Queens (not connected with the new BCD Tofu House)?

            1. re: squid kun

              not sure if it was, but it was much better than it is now

              btw anyone know why so many soon doo boo places are called book chang dong (BCD)? I've been to a bunch of them, some related and some not...in fact i went to an excellent one in atlanta about a year ago. I figure there must be some famous place in korea with that name (chinese people do the same thing)

        2. I just went yesterday night and it was packed. The hostess looked overwhelmed and the servers were running around like crazy. That said, the soon tofu here is definitely, no contest, better than Book Chang in Flushing, Seoul Garden and Cho Dong Gol (could never bring myself to like that place). We got the pork soon tofu (the kimchi one was separate) and they actually made it spicy, per request, and it was the first soon tofu broth in NY that didn't taste completely watered down or one-dimensional. They were very generous with the banchan, too, for a soon tofu place: a whole fried fish, two kinds of kimchi, pickles and bean sprouts.

          7 Replies
          1. re: plantainsandkimchi

            I went there today for lunch. It wasn't too crowded at that time. The menu seems different from the BCD in LA. There was no mixed soon tofu (meat and seafood) and no budae soon tofu (spam, cheese, hot dogs), which I definitely remember the LA one carrying. I ordered the seafood "spicy" and DH got the kimchi (which is not vegetarian, btw) "regular." I probably should have asked for extra spicy because it was not as spicy as I would have liked it to be. I remember getting much spicier in LA. Sigh -- it's probably better for my health that it came this way. DH was happy with the spice level of the regular. Then again, he's not a huge fan of extremely spicy food. The texture of the tofu was definitely a cut above Seoul Garden as it was creamier. Pretty good -- definitely better than Seoul Garden. Broth was good as well. No squid in my seafood mixture -- just 1 clam, 1 shrimp (that wasn't very good), and 3 frozen oysters. The kimchi soon tofu came with a couple of beef slices.

            I was pretty happy with my fried fish banchan. At most places, the fried stuff tends to be sitting around for a while. Personally, I don't think fried foods are worth eating unless it's been freshly fried. But I don't think a lot of Korean people complain about old fried foods as I see tons of fried calamari wrapped in saran wrap sitting under the heat lamps at H-Mart all day. But this fish was fried fresh. All the bones got really crispy that we were able to eat the entire thing -- eyes, teeth, bones and all. Not a scrap remained. That's a good sign. Kimchi was just OK -- left most of it behind. I didn't receive bean sprouts, but got a great raw squid dried radish banchan that was well done. Didn't touch the cucumber pickles as I despise them.

            We also ordered a small order of fried dumplings. There were four dumplings, and they were not bad at all. Overall, I'm very happy that this place opened up here. It will be my to-go place for soon tofu in Manhattan. It is no LA's So Kong Dong or Beverly, but it is definitely better than the other soon-tofu joints here.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Also wanted to add that we checked out the relatively new bakery on 32nd Street (not Koryodong). We got something called "tartafuto (?)" which was a layer of puff pastry topped with cream, fruit jam and a chocolate curl. It was pretty bad -- still slightly frozen and tasting vaguely like freezer burn. Surprisingly, the red velvet cupcake was decent. The frosting was not too hot -- too sweet and it's been sitting there for some time as the top of the frosting was hardened. But the cake itself was moist and well-flavored -- much better than Magnolia, Buttercup, Crumbs and Cupcake Cafe. My favorite is still Mitchel London's in Manhattan. And if you like taro buns (different from the Chinese ones), it was very fresh -- better than Koryodong, which can be dry and crusty sometimes. FYI -- it was labeled taro buns, but it seemed more like those sweet rice flour buns to me.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                good point on the panchan...i did like the fried fish quite a bit and the raw squid was actually very good (i like the panchan alot)...the kimchi was not good, it was too sweet

                1. re: Lau

                  Totally concur on the extremely sweet kimchi. I really wish Gahm Mi Oak would sell its kimchi. I finally tried to make kimchi for the very first time this weekend (the Korean in me is finally coming out as I actually refused to eat kimchi until I became an adult) -- better than what I had at BCD, but far from the likes of Gahm Mi Oak.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    gam me oak really does have very solid kimchi...in fact almost everything is pretty good there, highly suggest trying their bi bim bap if you haven't (best in the city) and also their bin dae dduk is really good as well

                    1. re: Lau

                      Hopefully by my third batch, I'll get the knack of it. When I was examining the pics of their kimchi on other websites, I've discovered that Gahm Mi Oak doesn't use a lot of greens that other people use in their kimchi -- scallions, mustard leaves, watercress, garlic chives -- it's more of plain napa cabbage and radish.

                      Oh, yeah. Their bi bim bap is awesome. While I'm still partial to the stone pot one as I love the contrast of the crispy burnt rice with the veggies and sticky rice, I love the flavor of GMO's bi bim bap more. There seems to be a lot more sesame oil in their version than others I've had in K-town.

                      And I never really liked bin dae duk until I had Gahm Mi Oak's (even my mom's as she used to make a whole bunch of them in advance). I always thought it was too flabby (as I said before -- a lot of places don't really give too much care to serving their fried foods piping hot and crispy). But Gahm Mi Oak's bin dae duk has always been perfectly cooked. I also love that coarser texture that the pancakes have. I once ordered sul long tang and bin dae duk for take-out. They told me that it would be a 20-minue wait as they need to cook the bin dae duk from scratch. That's how it should be done!

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        i agree that the stone pot version is better (wish GMO had the stone pot version), but their version tastes very fresh and the mixture of veg / meat etc is right

                        yeah i usually dont like bin dae duk either b/c most places pre-cook them or don't know how to make them, but as you said they are fresh

            2. I went to BCD tofu house on a busy Sunday night. The place was packed and the staff was more than overwhelmed. Our food arrived on time, but the waitress forgot to bring raw eggs (for the tofu soup) or our hot barley tea. Like a typical Korean restaurant (and I’m a Korean American, btw), no apologies.

              There was a small pigeon inside the restaurant, flying around every 10-15 minutes to wreak havoc in the restaurant.

              The food was decent.. I’m a LA native and I ate at various BCD locations throughout SoCal.. I thought food was good enough for Manhattan standards. The price was reasonable.

              My only question/concern about the restaurant is this: Most franchise restaurants go through training or orientation during the first few months. So, for the first few months, one of the corporation appointed chef/cook and manager will help with operations. But, after this initial hands-on-training period, the corporation appointed chefs/cooks will leave and usually, the taste/quality of the food can change. Let’s hope the food taste/quality doesn’t decline in few months..

              1 Reply
              1. re: eek331

                haha a pigeon wow....i had the same issue they actually only brought us one egg (there were two of us)

                Like I said its not LA (I'm from LA and there are def better places), but its def the best in manhattan (manhattan korean food is generally blehhh)

                we'll see what happens, I think that happened at the BCD in garden grove

              2. Hey, Lau, thanks to your rec, I checked this place out today for lunch. I got there a little bit before noon so had no problems getting a table, but by 12:15 people started pouring in and by 12:30, there were only a few tables left. Service was fine, no issues there. The staff seemed to be on top of things. I ordered the pork soon doo boo spicy--it could've been spicer, but overall I really enjoyed it, esp. the pieces of pork. I was not crazy about the banchan though I did like the whole fish. Midway through my meal, the waitress came over and poured hot water into the stone pot that still had some rice left over. This had not happened to me in other Korean restaurants, so I wasn't sure if I was supposed to eat it or not! I asked the waitress, who prob. thought I was a fool, but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gain. Anyway, she explained that I could indeed eat it and so I did.

                Overall, a good experience and I'll be back. Thanks again for pointing this place out.

                1. hi Lau,

                  thanks for the BCD rec....went there last night....we had pork soon doo boo and seafood soon doo boo...both were excellent, especially the pork...very spicy as ordered...i also loved that the panchan included fried fish...

                  in addition i was very happy w/ the vibe of the place...comfy booths, and perhaps the friendliest service i've had in a K-town restaurant...the red wine by the glass was a cut above K-town usual too (realize that isn't saying much, but it was perfectly drinkable so i was happy)...

                  am curious if their bbq is good also...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Simon

                    glad u liked it...im planning to go back soon to see if the bbq is any good (i really like the fried fish panchan as well)