Posted by: Hungry Korean | March 19, 2010

S is for satisfied

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was very disappointed that Kang Suh only served the spicy raw crab on Fridays (I was there on a Thursday). Since then, I’ve been craving that crab and yesterday was finally the day to get that nagging itch out of the way.

Met up with Strawberry for a catch up drinks and dinner last night.  Seeing that she is a fellow Korean, she was more than happy to assist in getting the spicy raw crab crave out of my way.  So after a quick drink at the Ace Hotel, we headed on over.

I did some research and discovered that BCD Tofu serves that raw crab — and not just on Fridays, but everyday, every hour :).  (watch out my fellow dining friends, I may be dragging you there once in awhile…who will be the lucky one?)

BCD Tofu started in Los Angeles and picked up a quick and large following. It luckily expanded over to NYC. This place is known for its Korean tofu stews (thus the name) but they also serve other Korean fare like bibimbop and kalbi (short ribs).

*Note: I just downloaded an application on my iphone that mimics flash. So hopefully no more of these dark photos taken in dark restaurants.  Last night was the first night I tried the flash app and you definitely can see the food better but the photos did come out a bit grainy and almost fluorescent. Still working on how to use the app and hopefully better photos to come!

So we sit down and ordered a bottle of the Korean liquor (similar to sake but made with potatoes). We got the ginseng flavored one.

Koreans literally eat their food and do shots of this. Hardcore. It’s like rubbing alcohol infused with ginseng. Tasty!

The banchan (small plates eaten with every traditional Korean meal came).

Awesome flavored kimchi! (the glowing red plate in the middle – it’s a picked cabbage and radish variety — marinated in spicy red peppers and garlic)  You know you are at a good Korean restaurant by the banchan you receive. These were pretty good! Let me note my favorites.

The whole fried fish.

It’s lightly floured, pan fried whole and delicious. It’s salty and savory and the skin has a nice crispiness to it. This is rarely served as banchan – probably cuz it’s not terribly cheap to serve every diner.  Yes, each diner gets their own. It’s a small fish.

I also LOVED the raw squid marinated in the spicy garlic chili paste.

The sliced squid is very tender (since it’s raw) and very soft. Warning: it’s a bit of a gooey chew in that it’s a dense firm meat but it has a particularly sticky texture to it too. It’s mixed with shredded crunchy radish to add a contrasting bite. YUMMY: spicy and garlicky!

For main courses, we shared the spicy raw crab (gehjahng) and the sliced garlic and sweet soy marinated short ribs (kalbi).  Here’s the kalbi.

Really delicious. Sweet, tender and meaty.  I love the smoky crunchy bits on the meat.  This was pretty darn good kalbi!

NOW…..the moment I had been waiting for……gehjahng!

The crab is raw, and cut in halves and quarters. It’s tossed and marinated in a garlic spicy red chili sauce. It’s divine.  This definitely might be a cultural thing though. Here’s why: raw crab is jelly like inside.  So the way to eat this, you literally take the crab and bite down on the shell and the insides of that raw crab just gush into your mouth. Raw crab and garlic spicy red sauce.  It’s a flavor explosion.  I love it. I really do. But many may find the texture weird and maybe even scary. I however was SO satisfied.

I really enjoyed every aspect of this meal. I had never eaten at BCD Tofu before but there will certainly be more visits in my future to try the tofu stews, some of the other Korean fare offered and definitely for more of the spicy raw crab.

I was incredibly full and probably reeking of garlic but who cares? Happy tummy and I was heading home anyways 🙂

Really, even if you don’t order the spicy crab, everything else on the menu is tamer and definitely worth trying. The flavors were spot on and the service courteous and efficient.

BCD Tofu, 17 West 32nd Street, New York, NY

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