I was pretty goddamn happy when the J Gold K-town Top 40 came out. I've noticed that, on some issues, I have almost the opposite of his taste - on issues of simple, intensely pure foods, like certain Cantonese-type places, Japanese noodles, etc. In other areas - cuisines with intense, many-layered, harmonious flavors, I have exactly his taste. Which is pretty goddamn lucky for me.
Anyway, I've been eating through the K-town Top 40. I haven't been posting because, I figure, it's already published, but I was ordered quite strictly by somebody on this board to.
Han Shul Bat: oxbone soup place recommended by somebody on this board a long time ago, and J Gold. Maybe my favorite soup place in town now. Most achingly pure, intense, minerally bone-beef flavor. I never thought I'd crave bone. I do now. Hangover cure, soul cure, taste of bone. My favorite is the mixed: the softest, loveliest intestine bits I've had, and the wonder of spleen. This place I crave, crave, crave.
Kobawoo: excellent boiled beef with some of the best kimchee I've had outside of Yongsusan. The much-touted dolsoatbibimbap (not touted by J Gold, but by several Koreans of my acquaintance and by the restaurant itself) had very nicely marinated vegetables, but no life-coming-from-combination, and, more importantly, they were faking the funk, stone-bowl-wise. The bowl was *not* hot, and there was *no* crispy rice formation. This feature has been verified by others on other visits. Kobawoo, do not fake the funk. If you ain't gonna make your stone bowls hot, why call it dolsoat at all? Goddamn funk fakers.
24 soup place on Western that I can't remember the name of: their oxbone soup is far lesser than Han Shul Bat. The soup (I can't remember the name, whatever the hell it is J Gold recommends in the article) of the cartilagey knee. It makes the soup very, very silky, all that dissolved gelatin from the knee. The knee itself - well, you better like tendon and cartilage. Sarah and I do, and, for the first time, my need for well-made, tender, near-mouth-melty tendon and house is pretty decent - lots of stuff - and mellow. I convinced my friend Sarah to order the ox-knee soup. (To their credit, they did not blink at giving the little tiny midwestern white girl her own bowl of ox-knee. I know other K-town joints that would.) It is, indeed, a soup with a big massive huge hunk of cartilage was fulfilled, more than fulfilled, exceeded, overwhelmed, etc.
Jeon Ju: recommended for dolsoatbibimbop and boiled cod by J Gold. Boiled cod was alright - broth was thinnish, cod decent. Not like the glorious melty buttery unguenty-lovin' goodness of boiled cod at ChungKiWah.
Dolsoatbibimbop, with kalbi, on the other hand, is one of the best frickin' things on the planet. Nice bits of fresh vegetables, very good rice, well-balanced chili sauce on the side, mix it all up and let it crisp.
It is hard to describe why this it the best bibimbop I've ever had (and I've had about 15 different places' bibimbops, mostly bibimbop specialists.) The marinated vegetables are a little finer at Kobawoo. The sauce is a little livelier and more compliated at Gumja Bawi. But something in the gestalt - it is fine, fine, superfine. Words fail. Anyway, this is my new favorite restaurant, I've been going here almost twice a week, all my friends I've taken and they almost cry for the goodness, I took my mother and she was spending almost more time praising the bibimbop then eating it.
It's a good time.