Saturday, August 10, 2013

Restaurant Review: Tobang Korean BBQ

Tobang Korean BBQ - visited July 26, 2013 (click on the title link to go to the yelp review and the address)
For the dinner where I made my personal cake wreck Lemon Drop Cake, I was meeting my friend Cindy for dinner at a new-to-us Korean BBQ restaurant called ToBang.  Neither one of us had been there before but it has a 4-star rating on yelp so it was a plausible culinary adventure to try.  It wasn't too crowded for a Friday night (we went at 6:30) and we got a table right away.  There was a barbecue "grill" (really a cast iron skillet on top of a burner) at our table where our meats would be cooked.

Since it was our first visit, we weren't sure what to get but opted for the family-style choice that supposedly was good for "1.5 people". In case that wasn't going to be enough, we ordered pork dumplings as an appetizer.  That "1.5 people" order turned out to be the joke of the night because they brought us so much food, we could've brought Cindy's husband and 3 kids along with us and probably still had enough to go around.  The order included 2 meats (we ordered the sliced beef and the marinated chicken), a soft egg soup, a bean paste tofu stew, steamed rice and the usual accoutrements that accompanies a typical Korean meal.  I can't even begin to identify all the little dishes but there was something kimchi, bean sprouts, least 4-5 other little dishes that I have no clue about.
Seafood pancake appetizer
They even gave us a free seafood pancake appetizer before all the other dishes started rolling in.  According to the reviews on yelp, this seemed to be the norm but I still thought that was nice of them to do.  The beef slices were cooked at our table and they were thoughtful enough to cook only half of it at first to give us a little time to eat some of the meal before cooking the other half and even re-heating what still remained from the first half so it'd be hot again.
Not that we could finish it all.  The fried dumplings were good and the wrapper wasn't too thick so it didn't fill you up after only 1 or 2.  The soft egg soup was delicious although unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it.  I don't know how they cooked it to make it so good but Cindy said it could be done by steaming the scrambled egg.  The beef slices were the only weak link as they actually didn't have much taste or seasoning.  However the marinated chicken more than made up for it as it was delicious, wonderfully flavored and tender.  I don't think I've had chicken quite that good before.
Marinated Chicken
Overall, this was a good dining experience.  The wait staff was very friendly and attentive and although it began to get more crowded as the night went on and more people showed up to wait for a table, we never felt rushed.

Bean Paste Stew
My only cautionary tale is it's probably better to go with a larger group for the amount of food you get.  Or, if there are only two of you and you get the order for 1.5 people, expect to take leftovers home - not a bad problem to have.

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