It's always a good day when I find my favorite kind of restaurant(ethnic and cheap) right around the corner from home AND it is delicious. I haven't seen many postings about Korean restos lately so thought I'd add a quick note about Chodang. They are located on Arizona Ave a couple blocks north of Chandler Blvd, amidst numerous auto repair shops and llanteras, which is probably why I've driven by so many times without noticing.
Anyway, the fam and I dropped in to try Chodang on a weeknight after swim practice. After a little bit of trouble negotiating the (lack of) parking lot off of Arizona Ave, we were welcomed into a very neat, soothing and pleasant atmosphere. The decor was nicer than the usual bare bones asian style, with a dark wooden floor, wood paneled walls, and framed artwork, but still hodge-podgey enough (paper placemats, smooth jazz Muzak) to let you know this was not a place about trendy ambiance, but good food! We were seated by a young hostess who ended up being our waitress too. She and all the staff were very good at explaining the intricacies of the menu - it's not one of those insider places where you have to blindly order and hope you picked a good one, so it'd be a good place for those new to Korean cuisine. We were, however, the only non-Koreans there for dinner at the time, so it seems like they satisfy the entire spectrum.
I tried the Beef Tofu Soup($9.50 I think) and my husband ordered the Bulgogi($13 I think), figuring that would be plenty for two grownups and a kid. The soup could be ordered in 5 varying levels of spiciness, but since we had the Wee Nugget with us, I went with mild. The food came promptly, and mine had a real wow factor. It was served bubbling in a little cauldron type thing. I guess I am secretly 6, because being served bubbling food in a cauldron really made my day. Wee Nugget was only slightly more impressed. The soup was delicious, with lots of beef, tofu and a very tasty broth. We were given the option of an egg with the soup, but didn't get it. My husband's bulgogi was also served piping hot (cooked in the kitchen, not in front of us) and was great. I haven't had restaurant bulgogi in a while, and it was delish (much better than my home attempts). Of course, my favorite part was all the side dishes. I am not a kimchee expert or addict, but I liked theirs. My faves were the pickled daikon radishes and bean sprout salad. I think Korean food might be a great compromise for my family because it satisfies my husband's need for meat, meat and more meat, preferably grilled, offers simple straighforward items for Wee Nugget's fledgling palatte, and gives me a range of flavors with all the fun exotic side dishes. Their menu left a lot to be explored - I can't wait to try their Bibimbap, other soups, and Korean seafood pancake.
So, in a gigantic nutshell, I really liked it! I've found all the Korean places I've tried here in greater Phx to be either a watered down Japanese/Korean combo, or expensive cook your own, and usually more of a fuss than I like to deal with. Chodang was laid back, inexpensive, family friendly, authentic(to me), and I'll be going back often.
Also: they are open for lunch, closed on Tuesday, and had some vegetarian looking items on the menu like Mushroom Tofu Soup and Bean Paste Tofu Soup. Dinner prices ranged from $9.50-$15, and lunch specials started at $4.99. I did not see alcohol on their menu but didn't ask.
Chodang Tofu & BBQ
1501 N Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ