The recent discussion of naeng myun styles,
sent me searching for my post last year on the hwe naeng myun (with skate wing) at Bear Korean Restaurant in Cotati (linked below). I had liked it so much, it renewed my interest in Korean food. My next five or six Korean meals were let-downs though, and not until I made it to Totoro in Mountain View and Myung Dong Tofu Cabin in Santa Clara a couple months ago did I find anything that I enjoyed as this unassuming spot in Cotati.
With the weekend's heat wave, cold buckwheat noodles seemed like just the ticket again, and I returned to Bear Korean yesterday. The eight panchan were as good as I remembered, each one sparkled in its own way and I devoured every bit of them. From left to right at the top, a light potato salad studded with cucumber and juicy cubes of apple, daikon kimchee, marinated bean sprouts, and garlicky-spicy pressed bean cake and scallions. Then on the bottom row, sesame-dressed zucchini, japchae, miso-garlic spinach, and medium-aged kimchee. These were all excellent.
My waiter attacked the bowl of mul naeng myun with the scissors as soon as he put it down, messing it up before I could snap a shot of its artful composition. It was topped with dryish thin slices of gristly beef shank, half a hard-boiled egg, toasted sesame seeds, and a julienne of cucumber and apple-pear. I added a bit of tart-hot prepared mustard to the mix. The noodles were as bouncy and elastic as before, though I think like Hong, I must be more of a bibim person than a mul one, as I preferred the chili sauce version over this cold broth.
I continue to be impressed with the food here, especially the panchan. It would be great to hear opinions from those who know more about this cuisine than I do on what else is good here.
Bear Korean Restaurant
8577 Gravenstein Highway
Cotati, CA 94931
(10% discount coupon)