What: The side dishes
Where: K-Tofu House, 72817 Dinah Shore Drive, No. 103, Rancho Mirage
How much: $16.99
Contact: 760-656-8886; www.k-tofuhouse.com
Why: These sides make the meal.
The task at hand was furniture-shopping. Our reclining sofa broke, and we needed a new one. But first, we needed lunch.
I dislike furniture-shopping; it’s no fun to deal with pushy sales people, delivery schedules and whatnot (#firstworldproblems). So I wanted something comforting for lunch, and the soon tofu—the menu-dominating specialty at K-Tofu House—seemed like it would fit the bill.
As the menu describes it, soon tofu is a “spicy homemade soft tofu stew.” I ordered the seafood version—and it was delivered to the table still boiling. The server then added a fresh egg (which cooked quickly in the bubbling water, of course), which was a nice touch. I added some rice to the bowl, as the server recommended … and then waited for it to cool down enough to consume.
As I waited, I munched on the four complimentary side dishes (banchan): kimchi, a pickled cucumber salad, a bean-sprout salad, and a fish-cake stir fry. I also occasionally stole a bite of my husband’s bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef).
Eventually, the stew cooled down, and I dug in. All in all, our lunch was rather enjoyable. We ate; we paid our bill; we went furniture-shopping.
On the way home, I pondered our lunch … and my brain kept flashing back to neither the stew nor the bulgogi: I kept thinking about those delicious sides. I mentioned this to my husband. He was thinking the same thing.
All of them were fantastic, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The kimchi was spicy delightfully crunchy; the cucumbers were tart and refreshing. I’ve never had a more flavorful anything that starred bean sprouts, and the fish-cake strips offered just the right amount of umami.
At K-Tofu House, the supporting players definitely upstaged the headliners.