after a long flight home from the east coast, my wife and i needed to get a little nourishment. we decided to go to a nearby malaysian place we hadn't been to in a while. as we drove into the parking lot, i couldn't help but notice how many cars were parked outside for a sunday night. i thought to myself, hmmm, maybe this place is better than i remembered. and then i noticed a strange glow coming from a place that formerly housed a curious russian restaurant. much to our delight, the russian joint had disappeared and in its place stood the shiny new "korea fusion tofu house".
despite the unfortunate name (let's face it, korean food was not meant to be fused with anything) we decided (rather quickly) to check it out. when looking at the menu, we figured out where the fusion came from. the restaurant has decided to offer dishes from various corners of korean cuisine. there's of course soondooboo and other korean staples like kalbi and naengmyun, but there's also a chinese section with jajangmyun and jjam bbong, tangsooyuk and kanpoongki, a japanese section with agedashi tofu, tonkatsu and momil kooksoo (zaru soba), and other random delights like bosam and chok bbal. this may seem to be a rather difficult task, but they seem to have pulled it off.
like all new korean restaurants, the panchan was very good. ten varieties came out, the kimchi was fresh, and the namoo was also very good. none were disappointing. a nice surprise was the tea. they serve deunggullae cha, one of my favorites, though i can't tell you what it is other than a root, with a deep, aromatic toasted flavor that warms the soul.
we started with the tangsooyuk (sweet and sour pork). a huge family size portion for eight bucks, it wasn't the best i've had (the meat was a little tough and tasted like it may have been frozen) but it was good enough. we'll try the kanpoongki next time. eunice had the soondooboo, which she said was comparable to the places down on el camino in sunnyvale. i got the jjam bbong (spicy seafood noodle soup), which was an unbelievable five dollars for a humongous bowl. and if you think that's a steal, the jajangmyun was only four! i thought i was back at seoul eating outside yonsei university at dalgigol, and that was 13 years ago! i mean, these prices are outrageous. you could conceivably have a meal for two and pay with a ten dollar bill!
so of course i'm thinking if they're only charging four bucks for the jajangmyun they're probably just making a bowl of japagetti, which is to jajangmyun what sapporo ichiban is to ramen. but my jjam bbong came out and it was really good. there was a mixup and for some reason mine came out with a clear broth instead of the spicy, but the broth was excellent despite that, pulling in the flavors of the seafood and the mounds of vegetables that were piled generously, albeit a bit too much, on top of the noodles. the noodles were good, not homemade, but definitely not dehydrated either.
service was nice, we got a free plate of jap chae on top of everything else, and we left with full stomachs and some meal-sized doggy bags.
bottom line, people in cupertino or nearby should consider themselves lucky. it's a great alternative to the places that are farther away in sunnyvale, it's got a lot of variety on the menu, the food is solid and even above average in spots, and the prices on some of the dishes are downright crazy eddie low. i know we'll be back there at least once a week. this new year's starting out good.
have a good one.