BCD TOFU HOUSE
ADDRESS: 3575 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010
There is something about a bowl of Korean tofu soup (soondubu) that really helps to warm you up on a cold evening. My friend Emily and I were down in Koreatown and decided to go hit up BCD Tofu House for dinner to wrap up our day. I hadn’t eaten tofu soup since my time living out in the D.C. area, so it had been a while for me.
Emily mentioned that BCD was one of the more popular spots down in Koreatown; this was very evident in the fact that there was already a pretty good-sized line waiting outside the restaurant to be seated. We did get lucky though, since after waiting for about 15 minutes, they opened up their outdoor seating area and we were able to grab a spot out there instead.
For the soondubu dishes, all the tofu is made in-house. There were an extensive variety of options on what could complement the tofu in the soondubu, ranging from meats to seafood to veggies. We decided to go with a beef soondubu for the both of us, along with additional orders of the bulgogi and the seafood pancake (pajeon) to round out the whole meal as well.
The assortment of Korean side dishes, or banchan, arrived to the table not too long afterwards. Kimchi, pickles, and (what I believe to be) a mashed potato salad were the dishes that I recognized, but there were three other dishes that I wasn’t as familiar with, but were seafood-based. In addition, our stoneware pots that were filled with rice also got brought out in preparation for the remainder of the main dishes arriving.
The beef soondubu arrived first, still piping hot and bubbling a little bit inside the stoneware pot, followed shortly by the bulgogi. The seafood pancake was the last one to arrive, after which our two-person table had all of its surface real estate taken up by plates of food and drinks.
As is traditional with soondubu, we cracked two eggs into the stoneware pot, letting the eggs cook in the piping hot broth while we turned our attention to the other two main dishes. The bulgogi had more of a ground pork texture than I was anticipating, but it still had a nice sweet flavor from its marinade. I paired up some pieces of kimchi in with the bulgogi and some rice, which I thought created a nice balance of the sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors.
The seafood pajeon was also pretty good, pan-fried so that it was crispy on the outside but yet still soft on the inside. It was a mix of egg and flour for the main pancake batter, along with squid, clam, and scallions also added into the mix. Each bite had a savory flavor that was then accentuated with umami whenever you got some of the seafood in there too.
Last up for first impression was the soondubu after we had made our rounds to the other dishes. The broth was really rich with umami and spice, likely imparted from the same chili paste mixture that the kimchi was marinated in. The tofu itself had a really silken quality to it, from a texture standpoint, and also absorbed the richness of the broth as well when you ate a spoonful. It was exactly the type of food that warmed you up inside, especially since we were sitting in the outdoor area too.
There is a reason that people line up to wait for eating at BCD Tofu House (and their parking lot is always practically full, it seems). The food is good and really fills you up, the service is pretty prompt, and the pricing is pretty reasonable for the amount of food that you get. Having a bowl of soondubu, the plate of bulgogi, and a bowl of rice would definitely keep me satisfied for sure.
Let’s now take a look at the BCD Tofu House Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Pork Bulgogi **
Marinated grilled pork, mixed in with onions and scallions.
** Beef Soondubu **
House-made tofu in a spicy broth, served with slices of beef. Raw eggs added in after dish was brought table-side.
** Seafood Pajeon **
Squid, clam, and scallions mixed into a savory pancake batter made with eggs and flour, pan-fried.
And finally, here are my rankings for BCD Tofu House:
Food: 4.25 / 5
For all of the main dishes that we got, I thought that the flavors were there. The soondubu was rich and had the spiciness I was looking for, the seafood pajeon had savory and umami notes, and the bulgogi was sweet and savory as well.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
Since we were sitting outside, we didn’t get the full atmosphere experience. But I will say that the outdoor dining area was still set up pretty nicely underneath a tent, with festive lights hung up around the area as well as portable gas heat lamps to make sure you didn’t get too cold.
Service: 4.25 / 5
You could get the sense that the staff wanted to work with a level of efficiency to get people in and out, keeping the line of customers waiting outside moving. All of the food came out relatively quickly as well.
Price: 4.5 / 5
Between the three dishes that we ordered as well as the additional banchan, it ended up being right around $29 per person. For the amount of food that we got and also given that it was a pretty prime location in that area, I thought the pricing was very reasonable.