This little place is tucked away in the large shopping center that houses Kmart and Trader Joe's, a couple doors down from Lola's. I'd seen a sign for a Korean restaurant there before but never got around to trying it. Turns out this is a new and completely unrelated Korean place. The official opening is Tuesday May 19, 2015 and it's been unofficially open for less than a week.
We actually meant to go to another restaurant which turned out to be closed today. So we gave Soban a try. So glad we did. I don't know how it compares to other Korean restaurants, but I really liked it. They make their own banchan (no preservative headache yea!) and everything was fresh and well prepared.
The menu is pretty small but they will expand as they are open longer. Most of the dishes have meat, the seafood is limited (shrimp, calamari, and mackerel), and there isn't much vegetarian protein, but I'm sure that will change. Because they are so new, there were several dishes they couldn't make and they forgot to make one of our dishes (but quickly made a substitute). I'm sure they'll work out all the kinks in a couple of months or sooner.
We had pan-fried mackerel, which was good with some crunchy edges. And exactly that. Just a nice sized piece of fish on a plate. The substitute dish was so good we should have ordered it in the first place but didn't see it on the menu. Stir-fried calamari with vegetables in a spicy chile sauce. This came with a bowl of plain rice. Our daughter had fried rice with shrimp, which was soft and moist, not hot oil fried Chinese style. It had sesame seeds and other little goodies and was quite good. We also got a pancake with vegetables which was so delicious I'd make a special trip just to eat it. It was mostly veggies with just enough batter to hold it all together and get some crispy goodness.
There were 6 kinds of banchan. One with slices of fish cake (my daughter's favorite thing there; she ate 3 bowls) and the rest were vegan. Mung bean, a cooked semi-crunchy black bean, burdock root (my fav), and 3 preparations of radish.
Prices were good too. We had 4 large dishes, plus banchan, for less than $40.
Has anyone else been there yet?
(P.S. I didn't take pictures of my food so please enjoy a picture of total strangers—friends of the owner who gave me permission to use it.)
Soban Korean Cuisine
255 North McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA 94954