My first stop was the Koreatown New York location of Korean chain, BCD Tofu House. This place has semi-recently raised some excitement amongst NY foodies for their superiority to other Korean restaurants when it comes to their specialty dishes, soon doo boo or spicy tofu broths.
I went ahead and ordered a pork soon doo boo, spicy. And well, thought it was decent, but nothing particularly extraordinary. The tofu had a decent soft texture and the pork was tender. The spicy broth was the primary flavor and had a good kick to it, causing me frequently to wipe my resultant sniffly nose and to finish all of the accompanying rice to tamp down the spiciness.
As noted by others, the accompanying banchan were interesting, although they ranged in quality for me. I think the deep fried whole fish (about 5-6" inches in length) was a nice complement to the soon doo boo and despite it not being as freshly fried as I would have liked, was my favorite. Other banchan were:
- Kimchi - not so great, the limp cabbage texture and toned down flavor just killing it for me
- Scoop of mashed potato - mashed potato with the flavor of potato salad with huge flavorfully sweet raisins (?). Simple tasting, but then again, it's hard for me to say no to a decent potato salad, especially with those raisins or whatever they were.
- Pickled cucumbers - like a strange hybrid between Jewish pickles and Korean flavor. Unique, but they could be crisper.
- Asian greens - Decent
- ?? in red sweet sauce - No idea what this was. Strangely tender pork slivers and pickled cabbage?
- Steak & Onions - A bit on the drier side, but okay
BCD Tofu House
17 W 32 St New York, NY 10079 (Map)