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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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#51 Simul Parikh

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

I went to the Annandale one for an early lunch on Saturday morning. Unbelievable. Really happy with this place.

 

It's kind of dumpy on the outside, and my friends had grave concerns before going in, but I said to trust me because DR people are really high on it. Inside, it's really cool, the wallpaper is in Korean script (who knows what it says? might just be their yellow pages or something, but it is visually appealing). The tables and seats are wooden, and sort of hard, in a military barracks sort of way. I have a bony bottom, so not that pleasant. 

 

I ordered the seafood and tofu soup, and my co-hungover comrades had the beef and tofu soup. 2 of us got it spicy spicy, and 1 of us got it medium. The service was on point, although we were there early and it wasn't busy yet. We also ordered the seafood pancake as a starter. They arrived with the banchan. The banchan was (were? is it plural or singular?) excellent - tasted bright, vinegary, crispy, and flavorful. There was one specifically we liked and I asked what it was. Turned out it is 'chayote' which is in the pear family. Got an extra order of that during the middle of the meal. The seafood pancake was good, but I don't have a great frame of reference for that specific item. I've had similar things at Chinese restaurant, and there is a comparable Indian appetizer (can't remember the name). When the soup came, I wasn't sure what to do with it, so the waitress set everything up, broke the egg and put it in our soups and then we were ready to rock and roll. The flavor of the soup was so rich, sort of ma po tofu-ish, but thinner and less oily, with just the right amount of spicy - light burning and moderate perspiration, but no need to take constant breaks and pound H20. There was a good amount of seafood in mine - oysters, head on shrimp, a mussel, maybe something else. I was full half way through, but had no room in my fridge, so I powered through and ate as much as I could. The whole meal with one Cass beer was under $45 and I was stuffed.

 

I'm definitely going to go back, although my concern is that it's sort of a one trick pony. I'm not sure what else I'd want to try there. I'd imagine other places are going to have better bimbop/bulgogi since these aren't their primary dishes.

 

Finally, I was looking at the Yelp reviews and there are so many complaints about the service. I'm very surprised. I did go at a less busy time of day, and though they weren't boisterous, they were friendly and I thought every thing came in a timely manner. The kicker was when we left. 4-5 of the people working there almost in synchrony noticed us and energetically and triumphantly said bye and thanks for coming. I wish that happened every time I left a room. So, maybe they noticed the reviews and got it together. Or maybe, I'm just obviously a baller and they realized it. 

 

S


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#52 Escoffier

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:04 PM

First, if you believe anything you read on Yelp, you're in trouble.  Secondly, banchan is a collective noun (it's whatever happens to come to the table when the server decides its time for banchan).  Third, the seafood pancake is haemul-pajon and Vit Goel's is a so-so version.  Okay, no more numbering.  Korean food comes when it's ready and so you never know what's going to show up when.  Roll with it.  You should never drink water with spicy food.  The only thing that does is spread the burn over a larger area of your mouth.  Rice is for spicy.  You should take a spoonful of Soonduboo, place it in your rice bowl, give it a few seconds (minutes for some people) and then eat the tofu and rice together. Not sure why you would feel that Vit Gol is "dumpy" on the outside, it's in what appears to be a small business building (which is what it happens to be :)).  Unless the server are really busy, they almost always say "ahn yeega sayo" ("come back" or "see you soon" or any variation thereof you might like).  Koreans as a group tend to be somewhat shy and tend to not understand why mee-guks would eat Korean food. They also doubt that mee-guks would like spicy food. 


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






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