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Apr 14, 2013 11:27 PM

K-Pop , Castro St, [Mountain View] - ok

We were in the mood for something different tonight, so tried K-Pop, next to Xahn and across-ish from Fu Lam Mum.

The atmosphere was fun, GF liked it well enough, nothing was made quite well enough to recommend the place as chow-worthy. We had the seafood pancake, which was delightfully homey and greasy but not really transcendent or even pleasant. The Korean Tacos were just a pile of usual Korean meat (which was good but not great) and some tacos and fillings. The KFC itself - we got the sweet and spicy, and I rather wished I had gotten the original. I've not had Bon Chon or any of the other chains. I found this dish as great as fried chicken always is, but the sauce didn't add much. Less crunchy.

However... GF did like the atmosphere, and she liked that there were dishes other than getting a big heap of BBQ Pork. We may come back.

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  1. Thanks for reporting back. Guess I can scratch this one off the office lunch list then.

    Any chance you've tried Sunny Bowl over on Plymouth yet?


    Sunny Bowl, 1477 Plymouth St, Ste C, Mountain View, CA 94043,

    3 Replies
    1. re: stravaigint

      Korean + Healthy scares me. The website looks as appealing as Fresh Choice. Do you recommend it?

      The Korean I've visited twice, in that area, is in Los Altos across from Chef Chiu / Armadillo Willy's --- San antonio & ECR. Nothing great, nothing bad, straight ahead korean.

      1. re: bbulkow

        Haven't been yet. From the pics it doesn't look that bad, and the healthiness can always be negated with a few orders of kimchi pancake. I'll add it to our lunch rotation and report back.

        I think you mean Su-Dam Korean Cuisine, I'll add that too. Thanks!


        Su-Dam Korean Cuisine, 4546 El Camino Real, Ste A5, Los Altos, CA 94022

        1. re: bbulkow

          Finally made it to Sunnybowl.

          I was expecting the place to be much smaller, but it's huge inside. I can't imagine they ever fill up, and the y*lp comments seem to suggest that it's mostly very quiet. I wonder if they're only busy when the theater empties out?

          They have dolsot bibimbap on the flipside of the menu, but I wanted to try the "healthy" option. I got the cold bowl with shrimp, broccoli and seaweed (not listed as a combo, but they'll do whatever you want). I swizzled sriracha on top and managed to overdo a bit. Massive bed of rice aside, it was actually very fresh and healthy. The seaweed is a must-get.

          Meals come with a tiny side of kimchi, which I wiped out very quickly. But the attentive auntie noticed and produced an overflowing refill, which was really sweet of her.

          I wouldn't call it a destination, but I reckon if I worked next door with the free food *coughcough* I'd still visit Sunnybowl.

      2. Very confusing to have two restaurants, one in SF and one in Mountainview, both on Castro St. Maybe the next one will be in Havana ...

        K-Pop, 499 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
        K-Pop, 124 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

        1. K-Pop in Mountain View just closed. There is now a "public notice of application for ownership change" sign, with the new applicant "JSM Restaurant Group, Inc." Any idea what that's going to be?

          4 Replies
          1. re: ssfire

            Yes, it closed in May (along with Mamaya and, slightly earlier, Temptations and Hunan Chili). K-Pop was formerly called Barracuda Sushi but was repositioned by its owner as a Korean restaurant some months ago.

            This is part of the normal turnover in the downtown-MV restaurant cluster that got going in earnest about 1990. Turnover tempo accelerated a bit, as leases came up for renewal, with the recent spike in commercial rent prices around MV and Palo Alto -- topic of at least one Chronicle story about its effects on the restaurant industry. Thus nearby Hunan Chili's rent tripled, when 10-year lease came up for renewal; any new tenant in that space will have to be a very different kind of business, given that a family-run Chinese restaurant with generous $8 lunch specials cannot just absorb an increment of operating overhead tantamount to $4-5 per cover.

            I track these (about 100) downtown MV restaurants closely, for various purposes (including dining in them :-) , and often have advance information about new ones coming. Will post here if I have news of the 124-Castro space although I am not always frequently reading CH. There seems to be less active interest in Mountain View restaurants here than on some other media or local or private channels.

            1. re: ssfire

              Also, regrettably this thread (and bbulkow's brief and I believe single experience) didn't get into any comprehensive tries of K-Pop's menu, which certainly had its strengths in my several experiences (not specifically the "KFC" but for instance hot pots, man du dumplings -- very fresh, competing with the fresh gyoza nearby at Bushido and Ryowa; pa jeon savory pancakes, not just seafood version; and a ritualistic near-obsession with little side dishes in profusion). That's part of what I mean about relatively little discussion of MV restaurants here.

              Nearby around the corner on Villa, the humble-looking but very genuine family-run Totoro is a longstanding good-value Korean restaurant much appreciated by fellow locals -- one of whom wrote it up journalistically a decade ago, still displayed in the window -- who get to know its strengths, always important. Totoro would ply you with both fresh and pickled house-made kimchi vegetables, various kinds, enough to fill you to the brim in case your order didn't. After many visits there I sort of overdosed and have not been back in a couple of years, but that's my own fault.

              1. re: ssfire

                The old K-pop location on Castro Street now has a banner announcing the new restaurant: Honeycreek. Any info on what it might be? Couldn't find anything online.

                1. re: ssfire

                  Here's what Jamie Morrow wrote in her Peninsula restaurant-news column (now appearing Thursdays) in the Daily Post. This appeared June 20:

                  "At 124 Castro St., K*Pop has given up on downtown Mountain View. Owner Gilbert Kim had originally tried the location with his sushi restaurant, Barracuda, then reopened with his Korean concept when that struggled. New owner Youwei Liu could not be reached for comment, however it's worth noting that he and partner Shuchi Wu own a Taiwanese restaurant in Fremont called Food Talk Cafe."