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Bowl'D - new Korean in Albany

This place took over the old Tsing Tao space on Solano, same block as Sunnyside Cafe. I only looked at the menus today and there was a good variety of rice bowls, including a build-your-own with instructions (1. select grain, 2. select protein, etc), as well as dumplings, kimchee and more. Prices were a little higher than I like to pay for lunch, but everything was under $15 and portions looked quite generous.

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  1. Haven't tried it, but there was a little blurb in the paper that Bowl'd is linked to Ohgane.

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    Ohgane
    3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

    2 Replies
    1. re: kc72

      Write up in East Bay Express explains menu and mentions part owner's Jessica Oh parents owned several restaurants including Ohgane. Does owned mean no longer?
      http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/bow...

      Bowl'd
      1479 Solano Ave.
      510-526-6223

      1. re: wolfe

        This is what I got from the paper:

        Bowled over: Bowl'd, the new Korean rice bar on the Albany stretch of bustling Solano Avenue, is wooing devotees with its mix of delicious food and serene decor -- sophisticated hues, soft lighting, and orchids and other exotic flowers. Jessica Oh and Chi Moon's three-week-old restaurant offers fresh, flavorful takes on dumplings, savory pancakes, bibimbap and spicy octopus kim bop are winning fans. (And if Oh's name sounds familiar, it's because her family also runs Ohgane in Oakland and Dublin.) Bowl'd -- the name is a play on both "bold" and rice bowls -- is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 1479 Solano Ave., Albany; 510-526-6223.

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        Ohgane
        3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

    2. had a very good meal there 2 weeks ago. Spicy Rice Cakes w/ Squid, flavorful and it brings the heat!

      2 Replies
      1. re: nicedragonboy

        Was this dduk bok ki? How did it compare to other versions (like the one at Porno Palace, for example)?

        1. re: abstractpoet

          I haven't had the one at Porno Palace. But it's a good version. slight hint of sweet which they said was from some honey that they add to the sauce. You can order it with or without the squid for an extra cost, of which they give you a lot.

      2. Had lunch there today. Spicy pork bowl with mixed grain rice.
        Pork was slightly spicy with a really good strong charred flavor with out actual char.
        Great array of vegetables including ; pea sprouts, bracken fern stem, carrots, daikon and shiitakes to name a few.
        Good Kochujang Sauce, homemade may be? not too sweet, sharp chili spice.
        Presentation was beautiful although not particularly hot.
        They are the young women that were hosting at Ohgane a few months back. They go out of there way to explain everything to the "gringos" which is great .
        Panchan was well prepared and tasty.
        Over all a really good meal. I will be back.

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        Ohgane
        3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

        1. This place is really good. The chap chae ($14) and spicy pork ($14) very similar to Ohgane's, except the whatsit-jang (miso-like sauce) that came with the pork was by far the best I've ever had. Same goes for the sweet-salty crunchy seaweed. There was a relatively limited selection of panchan, maybe 7-8 dished, but everything tasted brighter and fresher than elsewhere. We also had an appetizer, tofu skins ($4 for two huge ones) stuffed with rice mixed with various things including smoky bacon and almonds, definitely a twist on the classic.

          I was afraid from the name, location, and DIY lunch menu that the food would be Americanized, but it's not. Very nice atmosphere, friendly service, reasonable prices.

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          Bowl'd
          1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Their stone bowl bibimbap is the best I've had in the Bay Area, in terms of quality/execution of the ingredients, though I thought the "stuff" to rice proportion was a little off (I would have liked more rice).

            Spicy rice cakes were very good, as noted above, though they were sold out of squid on the day I ordered it. Maybe the sauce is sweeter than what would be traditional, but I'm no expert.

            Oyster pancake was on the small side (cut up for you on a little plate) and not to the level of, say, the seafood pancake at Sura. I wouldn't get this again.

            I agree that the prices are very reasonable for the neighborhood, and for the nicer atmosphere and friendlier service than your typical Korean joint.

            1. re: abstractpoet

              I had the Dol Sot Bibimbap (hot stone bowl $14) with galbi (grilled short ribs +$2) + bin dae duk (Mung bean pancakes, $6) appetizer for lunch today.

              The bin dae duk was one of the better examples I've had in the Bay Area. Not too dense and nicely pan fried. Many places overcook this so it's dry and chewy. This reminded me of my mom's, though the tiny bowl of dipping sauce needed some kick. There were no condiments on the table to doctor it up with like vinegar or red pepper powder. $6 for two smallish pancakes did seem a bit steep.

              I agree with the quality of the vegetation in the bibimbap and liked the additional variety you see compared to other places (listed in chefj's post). The galbi was a bit fatty and just average in taste for me. It was also LA Cut so somewhat harder to eat with the bone piece in each slice. One of the other proteins may have been a better choice.

              Personally, I liked the amount of "stuff" to rice ratio :) and the bowl came out nice and hot so had a lot of crispy rice bits.

              6 banchan. Cabbage & radish kimchis. Julienned radish. Steamed brocoli, Spicy fish cakes. Marinated seaweed. All very good. I asked for a radish kimchi refill and the 2nd bowl was a different batch. It was considerably more fermented / sour and arguably past it's prime.

              One tip. The mixed rice will not get as much of the crisped rice action that people usually want with the hot stone bowl so if the crispy rice is your thing, get it with white rice.

            2. Returned to Bowl'd for lunch as the new banh mi place was closed for remodeling.

              Ordered from the "small plates" section: mung bean pancake, fish cake kimbap, stuffed tofu skin, chap chae, all excellent. We skipped the $2 extra for panchan, rice, and soup, made a nice light lunch for two. At 1:30 on Saturday the place was quite busy, looked like a majority of the customers were Korean. Nice to see them doing well.

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              Bowl'd
              1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706