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Lighthouse Tofu & BBQ (or Vit Goel Tofu House) - Korean Tofu Stew in Three Locations

Local Chain Korean Soon Dooboo

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#1 cheezepowder

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 07:19 PM

Someone mentioned this place on Chowhound so I tried it today. I posted a report on the Chowhound thread but thought people here might also be interested or may have tried it already so I've also copied it here. There's one on 12710 Twinbrook Pkwy, Rockville, and 4121 Chatelain Rd #100 in Annandale.

I tried the Tofu House (eta: in Rockville) for lunch today and enjoyed my tofu stew. I pictured a restaurant in a strip mall, but it was actually in its own, standalone building (with a parking lot). The sign says Lighthouse Tofu & BBQ, Now Open (although from the date of the comments on the Korean site, it seems to have been open at least since the beginning of this year.) The restaurant inside is bright and spacious with wood tables. Around noon, the place was only about one third to one half full with both Koreans and non-Asians. The waitresses wore Korean dress and were friendly and spoke English. Service was also pretty quick.

Menu: They specialize in tofu stew (soon dooboo). The menu is in a plastic stand on each table and lists tofu stews for $7.99 for lunch, $8.99 for dinner. The stew varieties are: 1- mushroom; 2- clam, shrimp, oyster & beef; 3- clam, shrimp, & oyster; 4- kimchee beef; 5- oyster; 6- pork & beef; 7- beef; and 8- vegetable. You can select the spice level for the stew – white, mild, medium, spicy, and spicy spicy. They also have Korean bbq, marinated beef (bool go gee), mixed seafood and vegetable pancake, noodles with small octopus broth and special sauce, noodles with stir fried small squid with spicy sauce, and stir fried small squid vegetable with spicy sauce, ranging in price from $9.99, $12.99 and $15.99.

They give you cold barley tea (boreecha) for water. I ordered the pork & beef tofu stew with a spicyness level of “spicy.” The waitress brought over a cart with my dishes. She gave me the stew which was bubbling hot in a stone pot. She also gave me a small dish containing a raw egg still in the shell for me to crack into the stew. Then she had another stone pot with rice, and she scooped rice out of this pot into a stainless steel bowl which she gave me. Then she scooped some excess rice out of the stone pot into another stainless steel bowl (that I presume she took back into the kitchen with her), and she poured barley tea into the stone pot with the rice. She gave me that stone pot with a big plastic spoon. By the end of my meal, the barley tea in the stone pot was very warm, and I could scoop up the soft and browned bits of watery rice from the stone pot.

She also gave me five side dishes: (1) bean sprouts, (2) something that looked like chopped raw garlic with chopped raw oysters (?) in red pepper sauce, (3) kimchee in cold orange water/kimchee juice (?) (4) pickled spicy cucumber in thick round slices (seemed slightly sweeter and less garlicy than the kind at A&J), and (5) kimchee – the kind that’s not yet fermented. It was strips of napa cabbage in hot pepper sauce with a touch of fish/seafood flavor (personally I prefer the fermented kind but this was good for what it is.)

My stew was chock full of soft and custardy tofu in a spicy broth. The meat bits were more of an accent, the tofu was really the main ingredient. I'm also not sure I got pork and beef, it looked like just beef to me. I stirred my egg into the stew so it kind of blended in. The stew tasted as I expected it should (I say that because I’m Korean American). I have a medium to medium high tolerance for spicy, and I was satisfied with the “spicy” level of the stew (the heat (temperature) of the stew also accentuates the spicyness). To me, it was the level of spicy I would expect if I ordered the stew at a Korean restaurant without specifying the spicyness level, though I don't know how much of a gradient there is between medium and spicy or spicy and spicy spicy. It was pretty inexpensive for a filling lunch, and I even took half my stew home (they have Styrofoam containers, and the waitress helped me scoop the stew into the container). I’d go back again and try the other items on the menu.



#2 chef4cook

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 08:34 PM

Sounds very good! Since I live in Annandale I'll have to check it out.
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#3 Escoffier

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:16 PM

Someone mentioned this place on Chowhound so I tried it today. I posted a report on the Chowhound thread but thought people here might also be interested or may have tried it already so I've also copied it here. There's one on 12710 Twinbrook Pkwy, Rockville, and 4121 Chatelain Rd #100 in Annandale.

Menu: They specialize in tofu stew (soon dooboo). The menu is in a plastic stand on each table and lists tofu stews for $7.99 for lunch, $8.99 for dinner. The stew varieties are: 1- mushroom; 2- clam, shrimp, oyster & beef; 3- clam, shrimp, & oyster; 4- kimchee beef; 5- oyster; 6- pork & beef; 7- beef; and 8- vegetable. You can select the spice level for the stew – white, mild, medium, spicy, and spicy spicy. They also have Korean bbq, marinated beef (bool go gee), mixed seafood and vegetable pancake, noodles with small octopus broth and special sauce, noodles with stir fried small squid with spicy sauce, and stir fried small squid vegetable with spicy sauce, ranging in price from $9.99, $12.99 and $15.99.

They give you cold barley tea (boreecha) for water. I ordered the pork & beef tofu stew with a spicyness level of "spicy." The waitress brought over a cart with my dishes. She gave me the stew which was bubbling hot in a stone pot. She also gave me a small dish containing a raw egg still in the shell for me to crack into the stew. Then she had another stone pot with rice, and she scooped rice out of this pot into a stainless steel bowl which she gave me. Then she scooped some excess rice out of the stone pot into another stainless steel bowl (that I presume she took back into the kitchen with her), and she poured barley tea into the stone pot with the rice. She gave me that stone pot with a big plastic spoon. By the end of my meal, the barley tea in the stone pot was very warm, and I could scoop up the soft and browned bits of watery rice from the stone pot.

She also gave me four side dishes: (1) bean sprouts, (2) something that looked like chopped raw garlic with chopped raw oysters (?) in red pepper sauce, (3) kimchee in cold orange water/kimchee juice (?) (4) pickled spicy cucumber in thick round slices (seemed slightly sweeter and less garlicy than the kind at A&J), and (5) kimchee – the kind that's not yet fermented. It was strips of napa cabbage in hot pepper sauce with a touch of fish/seafood flavor (personally I prefer the fermented kind but this was good for what it is.)

My stew was chock full of soft and custardy tofu in a spicy broth. The meat bits were more of an accent, the tofu was really the main ingredient. I'm also not sure I got pork and beef, it looked like just beef to me. I stirred my egg into the stew so it kind of blended in. The stew tasted as I expected it should (I say that because I'm Korean American). I have a medium to medium high tolerance for spicy, and I was satisfied with the "spicy" level of the stew (the heat (temperature) of the stew also accentuates the spicyness). To me, it was the level of spicy I would expect if I ordered the stew at a Korean restaurant without specifying the spicyness level, though I don't know how much of a gradient there is between medium and spicy or spicy and spicy spicy. It was pretty inexpensive for a filling lunch, and I even took half my stew home (they have Styrofoam containers, and the waitress helped me scoop the stew into the container). I'd go back again and try the other items on the menu.

Heavens to murgatroyd. I'm a mee-guk and I found this review really interesting. Let's start with the panchan (the 4 which turn out to be 5) small dishes. Number 1 is indeed soybean sprouts, number 2, I have no idea even though I've been a fan of panchan for a number of years, number 3 is nabak kimchee, number 4 probably is cucumber but it's not kimchee (it's not made the same way) and number 5 is kacha ree kimchee which is more like a salad than serious kimchee. Normally this is made and eaten the same day. While the panchan here is good, it's not in the same category as panchan at Gom Ba Woo or Yechon.
Cold bori-cha is almost always offered. Very rarely is anyone offered water (might have something to do with the water in Korea) unless you're not Korean. You did the egg part correctly, you break it and stir it into the soondooboo. The heat of the dolsot (heated stone pot) and the stew cooks the egg. I assume you took spoonfulls of tofu and put it on your rice to cool before you ate it and didn't try to eat it from the dolsot (a practice which can lead to serious damage to your body from the boiling liquid). I always order my soondooboo with the shrimp and oyster and clam and spicy spicy. Grover and I have only ordered panjun (seafood pancake) from there once because it's not one of their specialties. It was all right but not as good as Han Sung Oak or Gom Ba Woo. While I've never tried the bulgogi there, others have and it appears to be well done. It took a while to find this place after Book Chang Dong closed but I'm glad we did. We highly recommend it for the soondooboo.
This sounds like another $20 Tuesday excursion to the land of tofu and kimchee.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#4 cheezepowder

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:40 PM

Heavens to murgatroyd. I'm a mee-guk and I found this review really interesting. Let's start with the panchan (the 4 which turn out to be 5) small dishes.

For a mee-guk, you're better versed than me in the Korean terms. :) Yes, it was 5 panchan, I added one that I forgot, but then I didn't change my reference from "four" to "five." (I always find the typos after I post. Also, my post here wasn't clear on this, I was at the Rockville location.

I assume you took spoonfulls of tofu and put it on your rice to cool before you ate it and didn't try to eat it from the dolsot (a practice which can lead to serious damage to your body from the boiling liquid). I always order my soondooboo with the shrimp and oyster and clam and spicy spicy.

Well, I actually ate it straight from the dolsot. :) Reminds me of a funny story - I was at Woo Lae Oak with my dad and husband once, and we all ordered stews. They came bubbling hot, and my dad just nonchalantly starts eating it straight out of the bowl, as do I, while my husband (not Korean) just looks on incredulously. "It's still boiling!" he exclaims. :wub:

How spicy is the "spicy spicy"?

#5 Escoffier

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 04:13 AM

For a mee-guk, you're better versed than me in the Korean terms. :) Yes, it was 5 panchan, I added one that I forgot, but then I didn't change my reference from "four" to "five." (I always find the typos after I post. Also, my post here wasn't clear on this, I was at the Rockville location.

I tend to have the same problem. Seem to shoot first and then after everything is posted, ooops! I do have a bit of Korean experience. Grover and I have organized 3 Korean dinners so far. Too bad you haven't attended. We could get your Korean back up to speed.. :)

Well, I actually ate it straight from the dolsot. :wub: Reminds me of a funny story - I was at Woo Lae Oak with my dad and husband once, and we all ordered stews. They came bubbling hot, and my dad just nonchalantly starts eating it straight out of the bowl, as do I, while my husband (not Korean) just looks on incredulously. "It's still boiling!" he exclaims. :)

How spicy is the "spicy spicy"?

To answer the last question first, I don't find the spicy spicy to be that (ingredient) hot. But for a mee-guk, I eat pretty spicy food. I tend to like Jam-bong and soldier's stew in the authentic manner. I eat it spicier than some Koreans. It took a long time to convince servers at the restaurants we go to that I wanted it spicy.
I haven't been to the restaurant in MD, I live in Alexandria so go to Annandale (or stay at home) when I want real Korean food. (If you're Korean, ignore the next line) My yah-bo is one fine cook and feeds us very well.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#6 deangold

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:03 PM

Quick lunch today...

First off a hell of a value. I spent under $10 and was well pleased. Second point, very good service.

I had the combo soft tofu soup with clams, shrimp, oyster & beef. I think a perfect combo would have been oyster and pork or oyster & beef. The shrimp was not a great quality shrimp and the clam too small to add much to the festivities.

The sides were amazing- great kimchee, cucumber pickle, water kimchee, a garlic and soy concoction that looked like mortar and tsted like rocket fuel... very good rockert fuel but hot and garlicky to the extreme, bean sporuts or raddish.

The hop pot of soup comes with a raw egg. I stirred mine into the soup and let it steep not bieing a fan of raw egg. The soup was refreshing, hot (I ordered spicy spicy which would be mild on the joes noodle house scale) and very full of tofu. I was really enjoying it! Then at the end, there is a pot of rice with hot barley tea poured over it. The waitress shoed me how to stir it up so the crusty bits of rice were mixed into the soupy bit and then you spoon it into a small bowl to enjoy. Must be just like momma makes because I can see no reason to eat it as far as taste and texture are concerned. It was just bland rice in a bland tea. But that aside, the meal was wonderful for less than $10.

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#7 grover

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 07:56 AM

I had the combo soft tofu soup with clams, shrimp, oyster & beef. I think a perfect combo would have been oyster and pork or oyster & beef.

I once ordered oyster soft tofu soup and it was very good. I think that they are using either beef or pork to prepare the broth.

Then at the end, there is a pot of rice with hot barley tea poured over it.

It is traditional way to finishing the meal. Pouring hot barley tea is recent trend. It used to be just clean hot water so you can feel earthy taste of burned rice.
They have two big tables in the back to hold 18 people. I think it could be a good candidate for another $20 Tuesday dinner....
Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
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#8 Scott Johnston

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:52 AM

Tried the Annandale, VA location on Saturday night. Unlike the larger Rockville location, we found this location to be friendlier and bit warmer in atmosphere. We had the mushroom tofu soup and the spicy noodles with octopus and vegetables. Both were ordered at the "spicy level". While the noodles were definitely spicy, the soup might have been served at the moderate level. Either way both dishes were outstanding. The table next to us had ordered the seafood pancake and the BBQ. Both will be on our table for the next visit!

If others are interested, Lighthouse might make a nice repeat 20 dollar Tuesday.


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#9 grover

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 09:07 AM

Wasn't that spicy octopus dish tasty? It is my favorite. I saw most of tables got the dish and thought there should be a reason why everybody ordered it. It could be another $20 Tuesday dinner or TMB spot.
Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
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#10 cleveland park

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 11:04 AM

I'm a big fan of the rockville location (out of convenience) and have become a creature of habit here. I usually get the mushroon tofu (spicy) and the kalbi. Next item to try has to be the octopus dish.

#11 catharine

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:44 AM

Tried the Annandale, VA location on Saturday night. Unlike the larger Rockville location, we found this location to be friendlier and bit warmer in atmosphere. We had the mushroom tofu soup and the spicy noodles with octopus and vegetables. Both were ordered at the "spicy level". While the noodles were definitely spicy, the soup might have been served at the moderate level. Either way both dishes were outstanding. The table next to us had ordered the seafood pancake and the BBQ. Both will be on our table for the next visit!

If others are interested, Lighthouse might make a nice repeat 20 dollar Tuesday.
Scott

I'm game. In fact, I think it is about time for me to take another turn at organizing. I'll throw out some dates on the $20 Tues. thread.

#12 sunshine

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:36 PM

Has anyone else been? If you weren't looking for it, you'd totally miss it because it's in a non-descript building on Chatelain/John Marr off of Columbia Pike, hidden from view. But if you like Korean soon-tubu (soft tofu) stew, this is the specialty here, and it's great. The decor is rustic with Korean characters on rice paper wallpaper, servers in traditional-looking outfits. Lunch is less than $10 (around $8.50-8.95 for the stews only). The menu consists of several different types of the stew (mushroom, vegetarian, oyster, seafood, beef and pork), and there are also some grill specialties like bulgogi, kalbi and ojingo-bokkeum (squid stir fry) and pa-jun (scallion pancakes) in the $12-$20 range. Go for the stew. They spice the stews to your taste. The regular spicy was just about right, but you can get it very spicy and very very spicy or with no spice at all. The meal starts with iced pori-cha (barley tea), and they lay out some pan-chan (kimchee, pickled cucumber, seasoned bean sprout salad, individual bowls of refreshing water kimchee and a dish of raw eggs that you can add to your stew to soft cook them). They give you bowls of rice and then add barley tea to the rice pot for noo-rung-ji (basically a "tea" made of the dregs from the rice) that you can drink after your meal. The stews come piping hot and bubbling to your table. You add the egg, stir it around to cook it, and dig in. If you're not totally full afterwards, you can go a couple blocks away to Shilla Bakery on Little River Turnpike for Korean-style desserts (including the shaved ice, ice cream, fruit and bean dessert called paht-bing-su), breads, smoothies, yogurt and coffees.

#13 Escoffier

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:10 AM

Has anyone else been?

Grover and I go quite often and Lighthouse was one of the $20 Tuesday dinners.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#14 sunshine

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 12:24 PM

I did a search for Lite House or Lighthouse before posting and didn't find the prior thread. (I thought it was unlikely that this place had not already been reviewed by the likes of Escoffier or Grover, our resident Korean cuisine experts!) Glad to hear others have gone and enjoyed it. Sorry I missed the $20 Tuesday. This place is an incredible value and worth the trek from D.C. Don, thanks for adding my post to the right thread.

#15 Escoffier

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 02:22 PM

I did a search for Lite House or Lighthouse before posting and didn't find the prior thread. (I thought it was unlikely that this place had not already been reviewed by the likes of Escoffier or Grover, our resident Korean cuisine experts!) Glad to hear others have gone and enjoyed it. Sorry I missed the $20 Tuesday. This place is an incredible value and worth the trek from D.C. Don, thanks for adding my post to the right thread.

We missed seeing you. We're scoping out some new Annandale restaurants (one with great handmade noodles and ja-jung myun). It might be a bit early for another Korean $20 Tuesday but there will be one sooner or later.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#16 deangold

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:23 AM

Lunch again yesterday. Good as usual. My spicy spicy order drew a nervous laugh from the waitress and it came out quite spicy spicy! Muc spicier than I remember from earlier visits. They now have a sushi bar which is closed on Tuesdays, not that I would have been in the mood for sushi when spicy spicy is at hand!

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#17 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 08:00 PM

Went by the Annadale branch for lunch when my brother and his family dropped by on their way home. We had two tofu soups, one with kimchi and beef, one with seafood. We also ordered the seafood pancake, and two orders of BBQ shortribs. The seafood pancakes were good, as good as I've had anywhere. The BBQ was fine (not my favorite part of Korean cuisine). The tofu soups were good but I don't really think the soups were anything spectacular. My brother also didn't think it was anything special. The banchans were few and the kimchi sucked (not spicy and not marinated long enough). The entire menu has about 16 items, 9 or 10 tofu soups, 2 bbq, 1 pancake, and 3 or 4 squid dishes. For me, I don't see any particular reason to ever go back.

#18 Soup

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:56 AM

I used to love Light house in annandale but over the laste year of so, my visits have been very infrequent. The soup stock use to make the tofu stew used to be amazing but soemthing changed and its been getting worse.

There use to be a tofu place across the stree from Wendy's in LRT and I stopped going there when viet gol opened because of the supperior soup. But, as I've stated on this board, I'm now searching for a new tofu house in annandale.

If any of you have a suggestion, please post.

#19 deangold

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 01:40 PM

I used to love Light house in annandale but over the laste year of so, my visits have been very infrequent. The soup stock use to make the tofu stew used to be amazing but soemthing changed and its been getting worse.

There use to be a tofu place across the stree from Wendy's in LRT and I stopped going there when viet gol opened because of the supperior soup. But, as I've stated on this board, I'm now searching for a new tofu house in annandale.

If any of you have a suggestion, please post.

I have never ben to the Annandale location but I can report that the Rockville one deos a fine rendition of Soon Du Bu and that great seafood pancake. I also love their kim chee which tends to be long fermented and funky.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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Dino's Grotto on Twitter
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Dino's Grotto Reservations

 


#20 SVT

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 12:42 PM

We took takeout from Vit Goel in Rockville late Saturday night (they close at 10:30, so not that late, but pretty late for us). The soon dubu made for a very good carryout dish. The Korean pork was flavored pretty intensely, and not quite my favorite. The panchan that they carefully packed for us made for great supplements. It's kind of in a no-man's land, location-wise, but the restaurant is very nice inside and the food was really worthwhile. We look forward to returning, and to more takeout.

#21 cheezepowder

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:07 PM

We took takeout from Vit Goel in Rockville late Saturday night (they close at 10:30, so not that late, but pretty late for us). The soon dubu made for a very good carryout dish.

I'm glad to hear they do carryout. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to carry out given how hot it is when you get it at the restaurant. How do they handle the egg when you get takeout?

#22 SVT

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 12:01 PM

I'm glad to hear they do carryout. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to carry out given how hot it is when you get it at the restaurant. How do they handle the egg when you get takeout?

As far as I could tell they don't. They pack the soup in a large plastic container, and by the time it reached our house (just a few miles), it was still piping hot, but no egg. I considered adding one of our own, but didn't.

#23 SVT

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:21 AM

Fantastic dinner at Lighthouse in Rockville last night. We split an oyster pancake (described as small, but actually fairly large; would serve four as an appetizer with no problem). My other half had the seafood soon du bu and enjoyed it very much. I opted for the baby octopus with noodles, a first for me as I usually stick to the tofu. This was a good dish--as with most things here, huge in portion size--with good spicy heat and perfectly cooked vegetables. The octopus was a bit tough, but complemented the firm-but-not-chewy noodles well. We took home a hefty serving of leftovers, and I look forward to heating up the noodles for lunch.

This is actually the first time that we had dinner in the restaurant--this is one of our standard takeout places, as the soon du bu works very well as a takeout dish, in my opinion. While we normally pick at the panchan when we get them as takeout, they were a revelation served in-house. The nabak kimchi, which is usually not especially appetizing (maybe due to the styrofoam containers?) was brightly flavored and refreshing. Similarly, the kimchi that we takeout is okay, but the kimchi served to us tonight seemed a bit crisper, fresher. We also had cucumber, bean sprout, and (I think) radish kimchis (not sure about the names) that were very good.

#24 goodeats

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:53 AM

A bit belatedly, but if you have not thrown out your local ValPak set of coupons, the NoVA packet had some coupons for here.
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#25 deangold

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:17 PM

I always say to myself after a meal here, why don't I go more often and I never have a sensible answer. Today, I was feeling a little in need of comfort food so I went. I had a bowl of #4 ordered "spicy spicy" and a hot sake and felt restored and renewed (and a little full and smelling of garlic) after.

The Banchan:

Water Kimchee- incredible stuff. I drink the soup, I don't know if this is culturally correct or not but I love it. It is sour, sweet from the cabbage and raddish that is fermented in it and it has a delighful lactic acid fizz from the fermentation itself.

Cukes in hot pepper. My favorite of all the banchan and maybe my favorite example. I finished the bowl before the waitress could even finish putting out the banchan, rice and pouring the barley water over the rice crust so she brought me another bowl.

The radish in soy with garlic slices. Again, perhaps the best version of this I know of. A few slivers of green pepper, a few thin slices of garlic, the radish with either a natural sweetness or something they do to it. Their version is much less soy dominated than others.

Kimchee - theirs is very fermented and less crunchy that I usually like and it has an oyster biuried in it and that made for a nice fishiness to it. Not my favorite kimchee but nice none the less

The Soon Doo Bu

A sizzling bowl of red broth full of kimchee and beef. I wish they offered a pork and kimchee version, but I don't think so. I crack the egg and add it to the far edge of the bowl and let it sit undisturbed for a few minutes as I slurp at the broth from the near edge. Due to some now repressed but I am sure horrible childhood disaster involving raw chicken egg yolk too horrible to contemplate... well I digress, I simply cannot stand runny chicken egg yolk. At my local greasy spoon diner when ordering corn beef has and eggs for breakfast, I tell then over well, break the yolk, cook it till crispy and then cook it some more to get what I want. I can down a dozen pieces of uni sushi each with a quivering raw quail egg yolk without a second thought, but if there is one drop of chicken egg yolk left runny.... well you don't want to know. So I leave the egg yolk for a minute or two and then give the soup exactly one stir to bury the offensive little think under a blanket of kimchee and tofu sizzle. Then I dog in to the soup/stew in earnest, taking spoonfuls of rice and filling the spoon with broth and then taking a few bites full of meat and tofu in the next spoon. About halfway thru the orgy of spicy red elixir, the ball of yolk, now just at the first acceptable point between runny and hard boiled appears and I can safely eat it without fear of embarrassing my self. By the end I have dumped the rice in the stew and end up scraping the bowl clean.

The rice crust with Barley Water

My Korean friends all tell me this is a comfort food thing. I don't expect them to like Kishka and they probably don't expect me to get this either. Tastes like tea with a burnt match in it to me.

I usually ask for my Soon Du Boo spicy spicy spicy spicy and today I forgot. It wasn't as hot as I like, but it still did the trick. $18.00 which means the hot sake was ripoff priced. next time I will drink water. $22 with tip. Superb and the service was sooooo nice and attentive.

Why don't I go there more often?!?!?!?

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#26 Gary Tanigawa

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:27 AM

She also gave me five side dishes: (1) bean sprouts, (2) something that looked like chopped raw garlic with chopped raw oysters (?) in red pepper sauce, (3) kimchee in cold orange water/kimchee juice (?) (4) pickled spicy cucumber in thick round slices (seemed slightly sweeter and less garlicy than the kind at A&J), and (5) kimchee – the kind that’s not yet fermented. It was strips of napa cabbage in hot pepper sauce with a touch of fish/seafood flavor (personally I prefer the fermented kind but this was good for what it is.)

FWIW, when eating at the Annandale location with a Korean friend, she said that the kim chee is usually "fresh" instead of fermented at tofu restaurants.

#27 jparrott

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 12:22 PM

Now open in Centreville in the same shop-o-rama as Grand Mart!

So good. Ordered kimchi-beef spicy and it didn't seem all that spicy, not sure if I got it toned down or I should order spicy spicy. So good.

$6.95 at lunch, including all the usual bits and baubles and rice crust thingy.

Between this and the excellent SoPoong (next to the new Lotte in Chantilly) and Pho 98, I'm in Asian soup heaven out here in Chantilly.

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#28 joni

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:01 PM

I work across the street from Lighthouse and haven't tried it. I'm not too adventurous. I don't mind spicy. Probably prefer veggies unless the meats are lean. Please advise. Thanks.

#29 jparrott

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:25 PM

Honestly, to my view, eating a bowl of spicy soondubu isn't much different from eating a bowl of chili, just that most of the meat is replaced with pillowy-soft tofu.

There are veggie options (mushroom, I believe). The beef in the beef-kimchi soondubu was ground but didn't seem too fatty.

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#30 deangold

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:49 PM

also the meat quantity is very small in an order. I think it a low fat meal.

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#31 DanielK

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:59 PM

also the meat quantity is very small in an order. I think it a low fat meal.

Unless you order "spicy spicy", which I'm sure involves some extra tablespoons of chili oil. :angry:

#32 Soup

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:36 PM

Now open in Centreville in the same shop-o-rama as Grand Mart!

So good. Ordered kimchi-beef spicy and it didn't seem all that spicy, not sure if I got it toned down or I should order spicy spicy. So good.

$6.95 at lunch, including all the usual bits and baubles and rice crust thingy.

Between this and the excellent SoPoong (next to the new Lotte in Chantilly) and Pho 98, I'm in Asian soup heaven out here in Chantilly.

Jparrott,
is the light house in the Grandmart or some where close by?

BTW, if you are near lotte, look for a korean place called go yang jip on brookfield corporate drive. Order the a "soup" called jam ja tang. In my view this place has the best version of this soup I've had (including the stuff I've had in korea). The banchan although limited you get 7 side dishes, they are alway well made and has a fantastic verion of kak du gee (radish kimchi) and mul kimchi. Highly recommend this hole in the wall.

I will try out the light house next week.

#33 jparrott

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:02 AM

Jparrott,
is the light house in the Grandmart or some where close by?

It is on the same side of Centrewood (the road that comes in from 29) but on the opposite side of the entry road. So from 29, turn onto Centrewood, then left into the shoppping center, then right at the stop sign as opposed to left (which would take you to Grand Mart).

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#34 darkstar965

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:48 PM

Adding a plug in this thread for Lighthouse Tofu/Vit Goel in Annandale and on Twinbrook Pkwy in Rockville.

Love this place. It's not a full scale Korean like many of the spots in Annandale already cited but it does what it does very well. For example, they don't offer bibimbap.

Signature items are the tofu pots can be had with 4 levels of heat and with different protein combinations (beef, pork, seafood, etc.). Wonderful, cast iron pots with whichever protein(s) and perfectly fresh silky soft tofu in generous quantities. Always served bubbling hot so you can add the raw egg on arrival. Serious--and delicious--korean soul food.

Kalbi (ribs) is excellent--again like most dishes well seasoned, generously portioned and inexpensive. Served with tongs and scissors perfectly in tune with the authentic and casual spirit of the place.

Cast iron grilled pancakes are also very good. We usually get seafood but they also have vegetable, oyster, etc.

Bulgogi is very good but there's better at some of the other spots already cited in this topic.

All in though, Vit Goel is a great local spot with amazing consistency and usually full of Asians. Oh, and agreeing with prior posters who argued that the kimchee is the right litmus test, these guys pass easily. The classic baechu, cucumber and less heated sprout are all standouts.

#35 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 08:05 PM

Signature items are the tofu pots can be had with 4 levels of heat and with different protein combinations (beef, pork, seafood, etc.). Wonderful, cast iron pots with whichever protein(s) and perfectly fresh silky soft tofu in generous quantities. Always served bubbling hot so you can add the raw egg on arrival. Serious--and delicious--korean soul food.

Kalbi (ribs) is excellent--again like most dishes well seasoned, generously portioned and inexpensive. Served with tongs and scissors perfectly in tune with the authentic and casual spirit of the place.

Cast iron grilled pancakes are also very good. We usually get seafood but they also have vegetable, oyster, etc.

All in though, Vit Goel is a great local spot with amazing consistency and usually full of Asians. Oh, and agreeing with prior posters who argued that the kimchee is the right litmus test, these guys pass easily. The classic baechu, cucumber and less heated sprout are all standouts.

Yes to all, specifically for the Annandale location, with big thanks for converting my Korean-food-phobic husband. The potato pancake is enough like a "weird" latke to be gently inviting and it turns out that short ribs in all cultures are easy to devour. The kim chi has the bonus of being sweetish and not particularly...fragrant...enough to bother a sensitive nose. The soon du boo was very mild (for me) at the "medium" level, so we won't be afraid to crank up the chili next time.

#36 Escoffier

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 05:28 AM

The potato pancake is enough like a "weird" latke

Not often found here. You've just given me a reason to go. Thanks.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#37 goldenticket

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:08 PM

My discount coupon was expiring soon, so we headed to Vit Goel for dinner last night. The last time I went was for the DR.com dinner, so that was several (and too many) years ago. The seafood pancake was very good (far better than the one we had at Yechon a few months back) and I liked that they have a small and large size option. Small was plenty to share in addition to two bowls of soon dooboo. We ordered mushroom (spicy) and kimchi beef (spicy spicy). I enjoyed both, though had a slight preference for the kimchi beef - it had a little more depth and complexity of flavor, and the heat wasn't overpowering. Pan chan were similar to earlier descriptions, a nice selection that brought cool and crunchy aspects to the meal.

Service was friendly and efficient, but not rushed.

I'm definitely planning and looking forward to a soon dooboo dinner when the weather cools off a bit more!

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#38 jparrott

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:42 PM

Yeah, the mushroom one suffers for me too, not as much for flavor, but for the texture of the mushrooms. The "vegetable" option works better as your non-meat choice.

I find myself ordering the "oyster" option more and more--the little bit of minerality just works for some reason.

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#39 darkstar965

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 05:03 PM

Wow--how did I miss a coupon for tofu house? We go regularly.

Seafood pancake trumps the others and is great as written. That, some spicy (or spicy spicy) #6 tofu pot with pork and beef, some kalbi and seconds on most of the banchan are all you need :D

#40 TheMatt

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 05:32 PM

Yeah, the mushroom one suffers for me too, not as much for flavor, but for the texture of the mushrooms. The "vegetable" option works better as your non-meat choice.

I'm actually the opposite. I like the mushroom more than the vegetable. So much so that I just had it about 1 hour ago. Tonight seemed like a soondubu night.

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#41 jparrott

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:46 PM

And reasonable people can disagree on it. In fact, of the usual folks I go to VGTH with, about half agree with you. At $8/bowl at lunchtime, I might just have to retest my conclusions.

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#42 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:37 PM

I'm actually the opposite. I like the mushroom more than the vegetable. So much so that I just had it about 1 hour ago. Tonight seemed like a soondubu night.

Yep, I was there tonight as well. Dank and rainy + recovering from a cold = perfect time for soon du boo. Hit the spot!

The discount coupon was from Specialicious. This is the second time, at least, that they have done a coupon, so keep an eye out. It's already a good deal for a meal, but with a coupon, the value is unbeatable.

#43 DonRocks

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:38 PM

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#44 DanielK

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:13 PM

BTW - if you're going with a large enough group (say, at least 3-4), add the spicy octopus or squid w/noodles to the table's order.

#45 TheMatt

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:39 AM

BTW - if you're going with a large enough group (say, at least 3-4), add the spicy octopus or squid w/noodles to the table's order.

Heck, I'll take going non-solo just so I can get one of their yummy pajeon. I know I could take it home, but I just can't bring myself to order that and some soondubu just for myself.

Then again, I am having the rest of my meal today for lunch...

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#46 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:52 PM

Then again, I am having the rest of my meal today for lunch...

Yes! It keeps really well and the leftovers make an excellent lunch. Or 2nd dinner.

#47 Escoffier

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 04:36 AM

BTW - if you're going with a large enough group (say, at least 3-4), add the spicy octopus or squid w/noodles to the table's order.

Spicy octopus (which I had last night at Han Song Oak) is Naek Ji Bokum if you'd like to order in Korean.

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#48 darkstar965

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:39 AM

No posts here in over a year so a good time given a bit of news you wouldn't otherwise know since no website and a facebook page that just has location and a phone number.

We're fairly regular here and, over the years, think it has been remarkably consistent.

We went tonight and were pretty surprised to note that the simple, 4"x6" menus which are always on the tables standing in plastic were gone. In their place, new 5 page, 8.5"x11" menus with new dishes along with all the familiar ones. The menu pages are encased in soft plastic. Whereas there were maybe 8 tofu pot options, now there are ten. At least 3 or 4 new main dishes including a bibimbap and bulgogi now available in pork and chicken along with the traditional beef. We ordered our usual kalbi, spicy beef/pork tofu pot (which always has wildly different levels of spice--tonight fairly atomic, other times pretty tame), lots of extra kimchee (cabbage, cukes and sprouts are our faves) and the bibimbap. The bibimbap was every bit the equal of the versions I've had around Korea on the street or in restaurants. it was wonderfully crackly with the rice browned/cooked in the iron pot and it's served with a sweet (new) chile paste dispensed from a squeeze bottle. This is great asian street food; really glad to see Vit Goel offer it.

I think most of the prices have gone up maybe $2 from several years ago when we first started going. We ordered four dishes (we were just two but starving and one extra order of kalbi was to take home) and spent less than $70.

#49 TheMatt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:50 AM

We went tonight and were pretty surprised to note that the simple, 4"x6" menus which are always on the tables standing in plastic were gone. In their place, new 5 page, 8.5"x11" menus with new dishes along with all the familiar ones. The menu pages are encased in soft plastic.


Huh. New is right. I went to the Annandale Lighthouse on Friday and they were still using the table standee menus. Guess I'll have to go there again soon to see the new menus.

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#50 Escoffier

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:10 AM

Huh. New is right. I went to the Annandale Lighthouse on Friday and they were still using the table standee menus. Guess I'll have to go there again soon to see the new menus.


The restaurants may have the same name and be owned by the same person (or people) but that doesn't mean they'll have the same menu or accoutrements. A prime example is Bon Chon which offers different foods at different locations.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.






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