PyeongChang Tofu House - Report
Four of us had dinner last night at PyeongChang Tofu House in Temescal. It was my first visit, and since we were all craving tofu stew, it was a good spot.
Panchan were generous and pretty good, though not everything was great. The favorite was an eggplant w/ soybean paste, which was sweet and delicious. Kimchi was disappointing—it didn't have much depth in flavor, and had a fizzy mouthfeel from the fermentation without much chili kick. Other sides were unexciting but decent, and I liked the ceramic bowls that they were served in.
Dolsot bibimbap was excellent, and came with a side of plain tofu stew (which contained lots of garlic, and arrived bubbling hot). The tofu stew w/ beef and dumplings was large, but only contained three dumplings. Nice flavor to the beefy broth.
Other dining companions had a seafood tofu stew that I didn't try, but it looked great.
Total bill for a ton of food (no alcohol) was $51 before tip, so it was a good deal. Perfect for a chilly evening in Oakland
The tofu soups are very good. I also like the short rib with napa cabbage soup. The restaurant will sometimes give you a free, smaller portion of the tofu stew if you order something else. My wife is less embarrassed to ask for it, and they always give it to her when requested. Of the BBQ, we like spicey pork the most; the beef dishes are not as good as those at Oghane or Jong Ga House. Except for the boiled potatoes, I am generally not a fan of their banchan. Their dishes often end up a little too salty for my tastes. Still, it's probably the restaurant we go to most often in Oakland. Next on my list to do is their bo ssam.
Yeah, the boiled potatoes were my second-favorite of the banchan.
We did have a clay pot filled with crisped up rice at the end of our meal, but nobody offered to put any broth in it to loosen it up. Should I have asked for this? I thought about it, but then we were too full at the end of the meal to really bother....
re: Dave MP
You should ask, if it's not offiered. It's hot water or tea, not broth that is poured in to soften the burned / crisped rice.
Even if offered, I decline and just eat the crunchy bits, but that's a personal preference.
Pyeong Chang has had ups and downs over the years. It's currently on the upswing from a year or two ago where they were stingy with the proteins and the broth was going downhill.
I've generally had luck with the rice without liquid. After the bulk of the rice is scooped out, if you carefully scoop around the edges of the crisp rice, you should be able to lift off the entire rice crust in a few giant pieces. That is my favorite part of the rice bowl too; I generally dunk it in the tofu soup so that it's slightly softened, but still fairly crunchy.
While PyeongChang is good Seoul Gomtang is my favorite Soon Doo Bu in Oakland. Their Broth is head and shoulders above Pyeong Chang Tofu House and though fewer Panchan it is of a better quality.
We still go to PyeongChang for the a switch and the crusty Stone Bowl rice served with the Soup occasionally.