I've been visiting Dong Baek in the Tenderloin for about 5 years, mostly because of it's proximity to my apartment, as I wouldn't consider it a destination restaurant for Korean food in SF. Recently I noticed a sign indicating "under new management". Because of the cold weather (and my oncoming cold) I was craving a spicy soup, so I went for an early solo dinner.
No much has changed inside that I could tell, just some table rearranging and new lighting, but the front of house staff were all new to me. Also, the tables now have small boxes with metal chopsticks and spoons.
I ordered Yuk Gae Jang (Spicy soup with beef, clear noodle and vegetables). While I'm not an expert on this dish, the flavor was good and spicy, with a nice ratio of broth to noodle/vegetable/meat. The beef was somewhat chewy, but I don't think this dish calls for a high-grade.
What stood out for me was the Panchan, which seemed fresher and with more distinct flavors then I remember from previous visits to Dong Baek. None were new to me, but it was a nice selection (about 9) for lunch time, though I didn't care for the iceberg lettuce and carrot "salad" that came with the meal.
I was also given three complimentary pot stickers, which tasted handmade, and had a delicious vinegar sauce.
Dinner was $12 + tip.
I'll try it again and report back, but those whom have tried Dong Baek in the past and found it lacking might re-consider if in the area.
Dong Baek Restaurant
631 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109
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