Six of us finally made it to the unnamed Korean restaurant in Oakland at the corner of Harrison and 13th. We arrived to find an empty, very bare-bones, hole-in-the-wall restaurant run by one elderly woman, slowly making each dish one at a time. Our meal lasted 2.5 hours!
The most outstanding thing about the restaurant was the array of panchan, the small pickled and marinated dishes that accompany every Korean meal. They came out in 2-3 waves about 45 minutes apart, but Melanie came up with a final count of FIFTEEN (30 dishes total, since two of each were set out for our table.) Actually, now that I think about it, this doesn't include the little bowls of Korean-style miso soup we got at the beginning. The standard cabbage kimchi was overripe, but some of the favorites were the squash, the cucumber kimchi, and the spinach.
The dishes we actually ordered were:
* kalbi (barbecued short ribs)
* pork bulgogi (spicier than beef bulgogi)
* pan-fried fish
* chapchae (glass noodles with vegetables)
* pajun (scallion pancake with seafood)
* bibim naengmyon (cold buckwheat noodles in spicy sauce)
* yukgaejang (spicy beef soup)
We wanted to get the ddukbokki (stir-fried rice cake in spicy sauce), but she was out of that, as well as our original fish choice. I'm actually amazed she had the variety of ingredients she had, since it looked like she has few customers. We almost got the black goat casserole (I am Korean and have never even heard of this dish), but it was one of those two-person dishes, and we already had too much food.
The complimentary fruit plate at the end had the usual orange segments, arranged carefully in a circle around a little pile of cherries, the kind with those vestigial parasites :)
And thanks to Melanie for bringing a box of Carter's donuts, the famous organic donuts from Sonoma.
Everyone who came, please chime in with your thoughts. It was definitely an entertaining evening, a chowhound-worthy affair. Thanks, Marc, for organizing this!
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