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Jul 20, 2009 06:12 PM

Lighthouse Tofu Vit Goel Rockville and annandale

I always say to myself after a meal here, why don't I go more often and I never have a sensible answer. Today, I was feeling a little in need of comfort food so I went. I had a bowl of #4 ordered "spicy spicy" and a hot sake and felt restored and renewed (and a little full and smelling of garlic) after.

The Banchan:

Water Kimchee- incredible stuff. I drink the soup, I don't know if this is culturally correct or not but I love it. It is sour, sweet from the cabbage and raddish that is fermented in it and it has a delighful lactic acid fizz from the fermentation itself.

Cukes in hot pepper. My favorite of all the banchan and maybe my favorite example. I finished the bowl before the waitress could even finish putting out the banchan, rice and pouring the barley water over the rice crust so she brought me another bowl.

The radish in soy with garlic slices. Again, perhaps the best version of this I know of. A few slivers of green pepper, a few thin slices of garlic, the radish with either a natural sweetness or something they do to it. Their version is much less soy dominated than others.

Kimchee - theirs is very fermented and less crunchy that I usually like and it has an oyster biuried in it and that made for a nice fishiness to it. Not my favorite kimchee but nice none the less

The Soon Doo Bu

A sizzling bowl of red broth full of kimchee and beef. I wish they offered a pork and kimchee version, but I don't think so. I crack the egg and add it to the far edge of the bowl and let it sit undisturbed for a few minutes as I slurp at the broth from the near edge. Due to some now repressed but I am sure horrible childhood disaster involving raw chicken egg yolk too horrible to contemplate... well I digress, I simply cannot stand runny chicken egg yolk. At my local greasy spoon diner when ordering corn beef has and eggs for breakfast, I tell then over well, break the yolk, cook it till crispy and then cook it some more to get what I want. I can down a dozen pieces of uni sushi each with a quivering raw quail egg yolk without a second thought, but if there is one drop of chicken egg yolk left runny.... well you don't want to know. So I leave the egg yolk for a minute or two and then give the soup exactly one stir to bury the offensive little think under a blanket of kimchee and tofu sizzle. Then I dog in to the soup/stew in earnest, taking spoonfuls of rice and filling the spoon with broth and then taking a few bites full of meat and tofu in the next spoon. About halfway thru the orgy of spicy red elixir, the ball of yolk, now just at the first acceptable point between runny and hard boiled appears and I can safely eat it without fear of embarrassing my self. By the end I have dumped the rice in the stew and end up scraping the bowl clean.

The rice crust with Barley Water

My Korean friends all tell me this is a comfort food thing. I don't expect them to like Kishka and they probably don't expect me to get this either. Tastes like tea with a burnt match in it to me.

I usually ask for my Soon Du Boo spicy spicy spicy spicy and today I forgot. It wasn't as hot as I like, but it still did the trick. $18.00 which means the hot sake was ripoff priced. next time I will drink water. $22 with tip. Superb and the service was sooooo nice and attentive.

Why don't I go there more often?!?!?!?

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  1. This is still my favorite Korean meal. When I order the #5 level of spice (the maximium), it's still not super hot. They also have a nice way with the pork and seafood combo that actually makes sense of those flavors together.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I'd order th seafood combo more if hte seafood were not frozen. The broth is super but the seafood itself tough usually. Next time I will see if they will do pork belly and kimchee.

      There is also a disconnect on some of the entree pricing. it is more expensive than Honey pig for LA Style Kalbi and not as good. So I stick to the Soon du Bu. On the other hand, the baby octopus is a huge and wonderfully deliscious dish if you have 4 or 8 folk to share it with. The seafood pancakes, available in 4 or more flavors, are wonderful.

      1. re: deangold

        Would you walk into a pizza place and expect a good burger? Chances are, you'd get a passable burger but you know that you could go somewhere else and get it better. Same expectations should apply to most Korean restaurants in Annandale. Because there are so many of them so close together, each house tries to differentiate itself by being known to do one thing well. So stick with whatever they're specifically promoting and you'll walk away full and happily stinky!

        1. re: ILoveBacon

          Well hte Octopus and Squid stir fries are superb as are the pancakes. But hey are the ones who have signs featuring their other dishes plastered ovr the tinterior of the restaurant and the other dishes make up more than half their menu. So that is why I made my comment directing people away from them, other than the pancake, octopus and squid.

          By the way, I frequent the one in Rockville so the competition issue is much less relevant. There is not a lot of Korean in Rockville these days.

    2. I was terriffically impressed on my one visit there.

      However, Vit Goel opens at some ridiculous hour like 9:30 or 10am. The Soon Dubu was wonderful, but man was not meant to eat it anything like that early in the morning.

      7 Replies
      1. re: wayne keyser

        Whyever not?

        I used to go to LA's chinatown for steaming bowls of Chiu Chow style won ton soup with fish and meat balls, anise scented roast duck at 7am!

        1. re: deangold

          Seconded. A good Asian soup for breakfast is a godsend in my book, and many is the morning that I've lamented that Vit Goel opens as late as it does.

          1. re: sweth

            Nothing like having to wait for a table for won ton soup at 7am in a restaurant full of 90 year old Chinese guys. They must know something about living well!

          2. re: deangold

            Anise scented roast duck? Sure, anytime.

            Flaming-hot hellbroth ... probably better for lunch or dinner. Beer helps.

            1. re: wayne keyser

              This reminds me: I've been meaning to post about a discovery at Sakulthai in Landmark. Once I convinced the waitresses there that I liked authentic Thai food, I've had good luck just asking them to bring me something off the Thai menu, but I recently took a friend who can read Thai to help transliterate the menu, and discovered that they have Kaa Moo ("pork leg", aka Khao Kaa Moo, or "rice pork leg"), it's braised pork and greens in an anise broth served with rice and a spicy dipping sauce. There's a lot of bone and fat and skin involved, so it's definitely not for the Pad Thai crowd, and it's VERY rich--I'd recommend splitting it with at least one other person--but man, is it good.

              (That and a bowl of their floating market noodle soup would be a perfect breakfast, for those of us who like that sort of thing; they aren't open that early, but both dishes are better the next morning as leftovers anyway...)

          3. re: wayne keyser

            You're not accounting for the time difference. You need to add 12 hours.

            1. re: wayne keyser

              Wayne_Keyser, your posts made me laugh out loud. Your comments reminded me of the woebegone look of dread, panic and defeat on my friend's face when we were presented with hellbroth + whole fried fish for breakfast while in Korea. It's not for everyone, everytime but I'm glad we have the option!