Based on some older posts and a recommendation from David Kaplan (among others), I checked out Shin Toe Bul Yi tonight. We had a great meal.
Before we had even ordered, they brought out a complimentary green onion pancake - flavor wasn't perfect, but freshly fried and pretty tasty. It would be a pretty great world if every restaurant automatically gave you a free green onion pancake.
We ordered 1 bi bim bap and one order of fried chicken, which we saw on many tables. Before this was served, we received 7 different panchan items - nice variety of textures and flavors: fish cakes, pickled cucumber, kimchee, anchovies, pickled daikon, pickled beets and bean sprouts. Then we were also served a complimentary tofu stew, which I thought was really good. There were lots of pieces of soft tofu, with some veggies (no seafood or meat as far as I could tell). Slightly spicy, but not overly.
The bi bim bap was served sizzling w/ the egg still raw on top - overall, very good, though the meat was not as flavorful as I would have liked. Still, generous serving and the pot was good and hot which made the rice crisp nicely. The fried chicken was the biggest disappointment for me, especially after reading the hype about it - perhaps our batch was somewhat off. The main problem was texture - the batter had a chewy consistency, not crispy as I was expecting. Inside, the chicken was moist and flavorful, and the batter itself had a good flavor too. So overall it was pretty good, but not great - I couldn't tell if other tables had chicken that was crispier.
Our total bill (for more food than we could eat) was only 23 dollars before tip - excellent value, good service, nice space, and varied menu with good panchan selection. This is definitely the type of place I'd never know about if it weren't for chowhound. Thanks a lot!
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