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korean in oakland--BBQ and soft tofu stew?

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essvee Nov 25, 2012 04:43 PM

I want BBQ. She wants soft tofu stew. Any recommendations? Thanking you as always.

  1. Melanie Wong Nov 28, 2012 12:13 AM

    Read your request and immediately thought of Pelton Smoke Barbecue and Korean Soon Tofu House just south of the border in San Leandro. But looked it up and discovered it closed earlier this year. But to give Pelton its brief moment in the sun, posthumously, here goes.

    While it did serve up both (American) BBQ and soft tofu, I couldn't recommend the 'cue. Ugh, in fact, the ugliest and worst ribs I've ever been served.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/5579048156/

    Korean-owned, this spot had soft tofu and other specialties on the menu as well. Didn't get to the tofu, but I tried the Ddook Bae Gi Bulgogi, $8.99. Sauteed sliced beef, onion, rice cake and clear noodles cooked in stoneware. Not bad, plus lovely panchan, especially the marinated asparagus and the potato shreds.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

    1. chefj Nov 26, 2012 10:13 AM

      Sura does both well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chefj
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        essvee Nov 28, 2012 08:13 PM

        Thanks all. I looked at Sura's menu cuz their all you can eat bbq is awesome and I have never seen such a selection of panchan in my born days, but I did not see that they served soft tofu stew, perhaps because I did not know to call it soondobu. I went to Ohgane for lunch buffet once and was not impressed. Will try for dinner. Landed out at Seoul Gomtang per Yelp. Quite serviceable but they only offered three panchan, standard-issue radish, cabbage and cucumber kimchee. Kind of disappointing.

        1. re: essvee
          a
          abstractpoet Nov 28, 2012 08:53 PM

          For next time, maybe consider Jong Ga House? I had written off their BBQ because the one time I got the all-you-can-eat option, it was pretty bad (low-quality meat). But if you order the a la carte BBQ (esp. the Korean style pork belly), it's very, very good -- and the portion size is still plenty. The tofu stews are solid, and the panchan is about as impressive a spread as Sura, I believe. (Sura is a good pick, too, and maybe slightly better food overall -- but I think the BBQ is better at Jong Ga House.)

          Only downside, for your purposes, is that most of the tabletop grilling options have a two-order/person minimum. But two orders of BBQ at ~$19 each, plus a tofu stew for ~$10-$15, and two people will just go home with a lot of leftovers is all.

          1. re: essvee
            Robert Lauriston Nov 29, 2012 08:05 AM

            Ohgane's lunch buffet was pretty bad the one time I tried it, not at all representative of what the kitchen can do.

        2. Robert Lauriston Nov 26, 2012 08:57 AM

          Pyeong Chang's my favorite for soondobu. Somebody said their spicy pork BBQ is good.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877353

          For BBQ my Oakland favorite is Ohgane, but I don't think I've ever tried their soondobu.

          If you're willing to schlep to Albany, Bowl'd does both very well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            vincentlo Dec 2, 2012 08:26 PM

            Being dragged to Korean restaurants for 20+ years because of my taekwondo background, and not liking Korean food too much in general (can't take hot spices and not crazy about greasy grilled meats), I have to agree with Mr. Lauriston for his two special recommendations above 100%. I want to add that for a meat-lover who isn't crazy about greasy BBQs like myself, Ohgane offers a dish where you can cook cubes of steak on a very hot rock. I've never seen other Korean restaurants offer that. It's a fantastic dish with high-quality meat.

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