BCD serves one of the best examples of soon tofu, or soft Korean style tofu soup available in Los Angeles – and there are hundreds of places from which to choose in Koreatown alone.
This is a family owned business with branches worldwide. They also manufacture the organic soft tofu that is served in their restaurants, as well as their own kimchee and salted clam condiment, both of which are served with every meal.
Open 24-hours, BCD draws crowds by offering hot, nutritious, cooked to order meals with five different courses for under $10, tip included.
If you have never eaten Korean food before, be advised that any self-respecting Korean restaurant serves free panchan, or side dishes at the outset of any meal. Panchan is all you can eat, but you have to ask for refills of the little dishes.
There is a doorbell on every table, so you can summon your waitress to bring more food. The first thing that will arrive at your table is a whole baked croaker, lightly seasoned, warm and delicious. Next, will be kimchee, pickle sliced on a bed of ice, salted clam condiment on shredded cabbage, and a raw egg that you can put into your tofu when it arrives. Since they cook the tofu to order, you will have the chance to replenish your panchan a couple of times while you wait.
The tofu served with a variety of toppings is the thing to get here, but they also have bulkogi, kalbi, and bibmbap.
Korean restaurants are highly specialized. I wouldn’t go to a place that advertised itself as specializing in pork and beef for instance. In Seoul BBQ places generally serve one type of meat exclusively – it’s either beef, or pork, or maybe dog.
The tofu here is an 8 ounce serving of silk cut into small cubes and immersed in spicy soup with a variety of toppings. The tofu almost has the consistency of whipped cream. Small portions of various toppings include seafood tofu with clams, shrimp and an oyster; beef tofu, vegetable tofu and chicken tofu. But it’s all about the tofu. Each dish contains the same soup base prepared with kelp and vegetables and is heavily seasoned with red chili and garlic. Whichever you decide to order, the dominant flavor is the soup base, not the topping. I prefer not to crack the egg into the tofu, but it makes it a bit richer. You will have the option of ordering it mild, medium, spicy or extra spicy. Get it spicy. This is authentic Korean food. I usually get the seafood one, served extra spicy.
Your tofu soup will be served in an earthen stone pot, and will come to your table boiling vigorously. It comes with rice cooked in a stone pot, which the waitress will scrape out for you and transfer into another bowl. She will fill the first rice dish with water, and scrape the sides to form a porridge. If you require more rice, it costs an extra $1.50 to have it served in the earthenware bowl or you can get it free in a metal container.
Overall, you could not ask for a better inexpensive lunch on a cold day, especially considering that the quality of the food here is impeccable. Simple, but impeccable. And if you are searching for a place to eat after that show at the Wiltern, this is your best choice.