Thanks to a recommendation from Soup on this board in December, a group of us went out to Too Sok Jip Friday to celebrate Penelope finishing her dissertation draft and MartyL finally getting into a walking cast.
As we'd been warned, we were the only non-Koreans in the place. At noon, we had no problem securing a table for 6, though the place was full by the time we left. We had fewer language barriers than expected; while the lunch specials are in Hangol only, the menu itself includes English translations.
We ordered five main dishes:
Squid or Cuttlefish with rice. The Hangol transliteration was for squid (ojingu); the English said cuttlefish. We'd expected this to be in a bibimbap style because it was listed with those dishes but it was served alongside a mound of rice. The squid was tender and served in a red pepper sauce with mixed vegetables. If we'd had any diners at the table unaccustomed to spicy foods, they would have been in trouble.
Nakji Somun (Octopus with noodles). Chewier than the squid but in a similar preparation, served with fairly bland noodles over rice. As we noted at Yechon a few weeks back, the noodles can really help offset the heat of this dish.
Grilled Mackrel: This is a plain grilled side of fish, very tasty with plenty of bones. This is the one dish we ordered by pointing at the serving on a nearby table.
Grilled Saury: These came three to a platter and are smaller grilled fish, again tasty with bones.
Soondae (rice and blood sausage): We ordered the large platter which was huge! It had at least 40 slices of soondae, plus some slices of unidentified organ meats. The soondae was very mild, soft, and comforting. It's served with a spicy paste and spiced salt for individual seasoning.
Some highlights of the banchan were the cubed daikon, wonderfully crunchy against a hot sauce and the very fresh kim chee, where you could still taste the cabbage. We received two sets of banchan for the six of us and were offered refills.
The table was covered in little plates and serving platters. Finding space for everything was a bit of a challenge.
Our total bill, including tip, was $66 for the six of us.
This is probably not the best place for your first foray into Korean food, but if you're familiar with the cuisine it is a winner.