Spoon at 933 Ashby in Berkeley (at 9th st) is a new place open from 8-4 run by the same people who opened Bowl'd. I first noticed it and stopped by this weekend and the very friendly waitress told me they had been open three weeks.
The menu is fairly similar to Bowl'd, but also has a porridge section. I felt like I should try this, as I've never had a Korean version, but my appetite that day guided me straight for the soondoobo. I got the beef version and I really enjoyed it. My previous favorite had been Pyung Chang Tofu House. While in my memory Pyung Chang might have a slightly more savory broth, all the other elements at Spoon really stood out. This is the only version of soft tofu soup where the meat (beef) portion has really stood out. It was a cut suited for long stewing, and cooked until tender and very flavorful. Most of the time when I order sofft tofu soup the meat (or seafood) was an afterthought--thin beef slices briefly stir fried or frozen seafood dumped in whenever, but this beef was truly flavorful and worthy on its own. The banchan also stand out--as many have mentioned the Napa kimchi from Bowl'd is really great--this is mostly because it is always at eh perfect level of fermentation--in the nicely fizzy phase.
I'll be back to try many of the other dishes, as it is close to me. The small bites are always tempting, but too much for my appetite. The fried chicken wings with almonds and the tempura jhap chae are particularly tempting.
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