5 W 32nd St (between 5th and 6th Ave, K-Town)
Fatty Kat Eats: Haemul Pajeon, Oyster Soondubu, Kalbi
On most nights, getting into BCD Tofu House is like getting into a swanky club. There are usually tons of hungry and fashionable girls waiting outside. I kid! But this place is always busy.
I realized that I've never written about BCD even though I eat there at least once every 2 weeks. When you put soondubu and a soup-loving Asian at the same table, the chemistry is magical. Trust me ;) Since the restaurant calls itself a "tofu house," you're most likely going for a hearty bowl of spicy tofu soup ranging from not spicy to "danger"! Our delicate tongues can't take too much spice, so we usually opt for the mild or regular. Also, don't forget that BCD has great non-tofu dishes too.
Each order of soondubu comes with freshly steamed rice in stone pots. I don't know what y'all know about rice, but Koreans and Japanese like their rice on the glutinous side compared to Chinese jasmine rice which is drier. Point is...BCD serves great rice.
All Korean restaurants serve banchan, or small appetizers, with every meal, no matter how big or small. The types of dishes vary among restaurants, but kimchi is an obvious staple. BCD is surprisingly generous with their banchan and often offer refills unlike most other Korean restaurants in the area.
The best part of BCD's banchan is the freshly fried whole fish. It's hot. It's crispy. It's so good! You will most certainly deal with stray fish bones, but the fish meat is worth the struggle.
The Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake) is my kind of comfort food. I always ask for the pancake to be extra crispy. You may have to translate that request into "cook longer" for the little Korean lady servers to understand. This crispy pancake has a chewy middle with many different flavors, but it's really the marriage of pancake and scallion soy sauce that does the trick.
Tada! The Soondubu always comes out bubbling hot, and that's the best time to crack the raw egg into the broth. All the soondubu options are good, but I prefer the oyster and seafood versions. The generous chunks of soft tofu swim around the pot and gather flavors from the other ingredients.
If you're with a big group, make sure to share the Kalbi (marinated bbq short ribs, aka crack) and the Spicy Pork Bulgogi. These meat entrees come out so tender, juicy and packed full of strong flavors (like everything else at BCD).
This place is my go-to spot in cold weather, so you know where to find me in my pseudo-hibernation. Keep in mind that Korean ladies like big smiles and lots of thank you's. Give them a little bit of teeth and they'll hook you up with a bunch of banchan.