Seoul Garden's Natural Tofu, at 34 West 32nd Street, 2nd floor, re-opened today, and I tried their Soft Tofu Stew (Soon Doo Boo Jigae).
The starters at Seoul Garden were alright, but not the best, as I'm rather partial to just vegetables, not odd-looking seafood creations. The cucumber came in huge chunks, not neat little slices, which made for difficult eating with chopsticks. There was what appeared to be a "crab salad" (crab meat and mayonnaise) that was good, the bean sprouts weren't all that fresh, some little tiny 1/2 inch whole fish (didn't try them). The cabbage kimchie had a kick, but just the right amount for me (it was a bit tame for my luncheon partner), and there were peppers in some sort of sauce, but they weren't too hot. Finally, there was some kind of cured or smoked substance, which tasted pretty good, but I couldn't tell you what it was (and I'd rather not know ;) ).
When my stew arrived, it cooled fairly quickly (which was dicey, because the eggs hadn't come with the starters, we had to request them), but I had no complaints with the stew's flavoring. I ordered mild, but the matron said it would be a little hotter than mild, since I was getting kimchie stew, but it wasn't terribly hot at all. The rice was quite dry compared to the soft, moist, sticky rice I'm used to getting to accompany Soon Doo Boo, and I didn't care for that at all. It could be that after their recent renovations they need time to adjust, but for now no part of the meal was anywhere near as good as the "Natural Tofu" (name is actually "Book Chang Dong" I believe, but the only English on the sign says "Natural Tofu") restaurant out in Sunnyside at 40-06 Roosevelt.
If you're into Soft Tofu Stew, you still need to catch the 7 train in order to get the best.
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