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Seoul Gom Tang review (Oakland)

Despite the restaurant's name and presumed specialty, the best dish I had here was not a soup, but the black goat stew. I’ve only had this at Casserole House and Sura, and have not tried Ohgane or Sahn Maru’s versions, but I thought this was best version I’ve tried – lots of tender, flavorful stewed goat meat, really complex flavor, lots of meaty mushrooms that soaked up the broth beautifully. They bring it out with all of the raw ingredients piled up in the middle of the hot pot, topped with an impressive-looking mound of vegetables and chilis. I liked that there wasn’t any perilla – I like perilla raw, and as kimchee, but cooked perilla reminds me of banana peels in a hot car.

The oxtail soup was ok. Not as rich as I’d like it to be, but it was satisfying. I'll go back to try some of their other soups - I've heard good things about the one with brisket and rice noodles.

The mandoo and the pajun, which I found a lot of recommendations for, were lackluster. The mandoo were large to the point of unwieldiness. Their thin skins were prone to breaking, and the filling was just ok. The "seafood" in the pajun was mostly krab, and the pancake itself lacked the crispness of better versions.

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Seoul Gom Tang
3801 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

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  1. thanks for mentioning the lack of perilla. i'm the opposite, and love perilla raw, pickled, or cooked, so i probably wouldn't order this here unless it was in demand with my other dining companions. i almost went here today on the suspicion that a place that specializes in beef broths would make a good mul naengmyon, but i opted out. any thoughts on naengmyon here? i guess i should do a search.

    4 Replies
    1. re: augustiner

      Haven't had it there, but as it gets hotter out, I'll want to try it.

      Have you tried the naengmyon at Korea House? I thought it was very good. A Korean co-worker of mine who finds Korea House generally underwhelming raved about it, so I had to try it.

      1. re: augustiner

        I had a pretty nice version of bibim naengmyon at the Santa Clara branch, so it might be good at the Oakland one as well.

        I had the non spicy one at Korea House a few years back but don't remember having good impressions on it.

        1. re: DezzerSF

          I suspect I may not have the most discriminating taste when it comes to naengmyon - I like the stuff that comes packaged and frozen from Koreana Plaza too. I think it might be up there with mac-and-cheese and ramen, in terms of things that have to be really bad for me not to enjoy them...

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          Koreana Plaza
          2328 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

          1. re: daveena

            Yes, it's really hard to judge the dish in the first place, since you essentially season it to taste with the mustard and vinegar. So the quality of the toppings make it for me.

      2. Years ago, a friend who lived nearby recommended the seafood and green onion pancake. Finally got around to trying it and it's really good, the best of that family of dishes that I've had. It's big, could make a substantial main dish for one or be shared by four or more. Seafood was mostly if not 100% squid. Great spicy dipping sauce. After I ordered I noticed they had signs up for a garlic chive jeon, kind of want to go back to get that while they're still in season.

        I wasn't expecting it to be so big so I also ordered a kimchi and bean sprout soup. This was very light, mostly veg and tofu plus a couple of really good pork dumplings, compact ones kind of like bit tortelli with a sour flavor (jin man doo?) and a few rice cakes.

        Stone bowl bibimbap looked good and was a generous portion.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          A not of warning about the Garlic Chive Pajeon, It does not look like the picture that is posted at all. Much more batter/less chives. It was still good but not Chives bound with a bit of batter as the Photo would lead you to believe.
          They do a very good Pork Bone Stew/Gamjatang/감자탕

          1. re: chefj

            Interesting. The seafood and green onion pancake had barely enough batter to hold it together.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            "jjin" refers to the cooking technique.

            jjin mandu - steamed dumpling
            gun mandu - fried (pan or deep fried)
            mul mandu - boiled

            i didn't know they had a compact version there. i only recall seeing the large steamed mandu which are on the menu in Korean (iirc) as "wang mandu" ("king" for the large size) which come out in a big steamer tray. those are jjin-mandu.

            the ones you had were in the bean sprout soup? if so, you'd call them mul-mandu. sounds like they may have had some kimchi in them adding the sourness?

            1. re: drewskiSF

              They looked like #1 in this menu scan:

              http://dineries.com/ca/oakland/seoulg...

              I couldn't see kimchi in the filling but that might have been it. They were really good.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Those are the Ones that are gigantic, 2.5" in Diameter or so. Where the Ones in your Soup that big?

          3. There are a few posts about Seoul Gom Tang later in this thread started in 2006:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/325071

            Also, in 2004 Kim Severson then of the SF Chronicle and who moved to the New York Times later that year, recommended the sam gye tang (chicken soup with ginseng, garlic, ginseng, and dried Korean dates) as a cold remedy:

            http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article...

            1 Reply
            1. re: zippo

              I found this part of the SFGate article humorous:

              "Bowls of a slightly milky looking beef broth come in several varieties. One, suk uh gom tang, is made substantial with a variety of beef cuts. It’s likely the most accessible for people who don’t eat a lot of Korean food."

              Suk Uh Gom Tang is like the Pho Dac Biet of Gom Tang. The menu calls the proteins "Thoroughly Cooked Mixed Beef" but it comes with tripe, tendon, and small intestine along with thin slices of beef tongue to go with more standard brisket.

              For a better introduction, I'd recommend the straight Brisket version, Chadolbaegi Gom Tang.