Earlier last week, I went to BCD Tofu with my mom for lunch. She craved Korean food and I asked my best friend, Helen for suggestions a few days earlier (she’s Korean, so she knows what’s good), this ended up as the destination of choice. Admittedly, BCD is sort of on the hype end of the Koreatown spectrum besides the soon-to-be-opening Kyochon Chicken but at least I found some respite of not seeing cameras compared to Baohaus.
When we entered this restaurant, we’re greeted with a hostess in Korean and asked for seating for two. After sitting down at table, I noticed it’s not as bustling as I was thinking for lunch hour. It’s about quarter full and most of the patrons are college kids or around my age. The interior isn’t a huge departure from any other K-town restaurant. It’s cleaner, a bit brighter, and everyone’s seated in banquettes that has its own copper hood with the exception of a few two-tops along one wall of the restaurant.
Mom and I looked at the Lunch Special menu and end up choosing what we wanted. After the orders were taken, out came the banchan. Two types of kimchi, one was sweet and spicy (Mom approved) and the smaller plate was salty and spicy, a fried fish (admittedly, a bit on the dry side but still palatable), some pickles, pasta and ham salad, and seaweed.
The tofu soup was part of the lunch special, I had the regular tofu soup that’s filled with a boatload of oyster mushrooms and large cubes of firm, organic tofu simmering in a spicy broth. The seafood soup was pretty much the same to mine except with the addition of oyster meat and shrimp and I requested them to make it mild since my mom’s going to eat it. My mom noted that the broth sort of tasted like a Chinese medicinal soup called dong quai.
My mom craved dolsot bibimbap ever since last week when we talked about going to lunch. Obviously, I had to order this for her. When the waiter set this sizzling stone bowl of rice that’s bedecked in raw, shredded carrots, soybean sprouts, minced beef, enoki mushrooms, and other vegetables, Mom looked like a happy person and started to mix.
I had a few bites of this dish and thought it’s decent. I think I had better from other establishments but it’s not bad. It needed a spicy note and added some gochujang to my helping.
Serving rice for my beef bulgogi
As for myself, I ordered the beef bulgogi. I heeded to Helen’s warning that Korean food tends to cook their food *really* spicy and stick with something tame (in other words, mild) before I start sniffling like crazy and lose my voice for half a day.
Anyway, this dish was good. A hot, heavy cast iron plate piled on tender pieces of thinly sliced beef cooked in a sweet-savory sauce served with a bowl of sticky, short grain rice. This is hearty, comfort food that filled me up for the rest of the day. Literally.
Overall, our total came out to be $35 for the both of us. Not bad for something that’s pretty delicious and filling. Service here can be a bit spotty but it’s not bad.
17 West 32nd Street (between Broadway & 5th Avenue)
New York, NY 10001 (website; map)