BCD Tofu House

5W 32nd St. New York, NY 10001 • (212) 967-1900 bcdtofu.com

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I have no idea what the BCD stands for, maybe it’s Bargain Cuisine Delectables? Probably not, but whatever it is, ya still gotta love Koreatown for its bountiful spreads of food at a fraction of the price you’d pay anywhere else in Manhattan. It’s almost as if they don’t realize that there are sandwich shops all around them that are charging more for a tuna on rye- no chips, no drink- than the three course bento-paloozas the Koreans are doling out. So shhhh! Let’s keep it that way.

But cheap is only one reason to love the Tofu House. Good is the other. Especially in the winter with a bevy of fiery soups that manage to stay hot longer than Madonna. Offered in a range of spiciness from mild to medium to hot and finally very hot. I went with just “hot” and I found it to be perfect. Plenty of kick, but just up to that threshold where flavor ends and pain begins, without crossing it. Very hot would’ve probably rendered all of the goodies in the soup imperceptible to taste.

As for the goodies of which I speak, I opted for the dumpling soup, which as one might guess is loaded with dumplings. But also bulgogi, veggies, tofu (after all, the place is called Tofu House), and if you so desire, a raw egg, rice, peppers and kimchi. Plus a fried smelt on the side.

And speaking of dumplings, another worthy get as an appetizer are the fried veggie pot stickers.

Service is very friendly and attentive and the décor is rather basic. Not the point of this place though really. The soup here is the focus. So if you’re cold and looking for a bowl to warm you up, this should do the trick, even if you’re a White Walker.

4 teeth

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Megu

62 Thomas St. New York, NY 10013(212) 964-7777megurestaurants.com

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If it were only a matter of decor and platings, this place would be off the charts, with it’s daily hand-carved ice Buddah set amidst an architectural tour de force. But that’s about all I can say that’s positive about Megu.

The service barely spoke a word of English, which would’ve been fine if we were in Tokyo, but in the United States, when you’re paying over 200 bucks a head,  I’m sorry, the least you could do is put someone in front of me who understands what I’m saying. After all,  you are in a service industry. And imagine if I was trying to tell him I had a nut allergy and he thought I was saying I had a nut affinity!

But that’s small stuff. Not the dying from nuts part. The language barrier part. What was most disappointing about Megu was the food itself. From a taste perspective not a single dish was exceptional and some things were down right inedible.

I mean sure, I like the novelty of drinking bone marrow foam out of an egg shell as much as the next guy. Eating foie gras terrine wrapped in gelatin so it looks like an old-school candy wrapper is pretty cool too. And the sheer inventiveness of cantilevering a smelt over a miniature bed of smoking coals is genius. But like I said, my eyes couldn’t have been happier, however, from my mouth to my wallet I was pissed.

I say skip it and go with a sure thing like Nobu. Especially if you’re going to spend this kind of money on Japanese.

2 teeth