Tuesday, July 12, 2011

San Francisco: Toyose

After leaving Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences (I love the coral reef they have there) two Thursdays ago, we headed to Toyose, an Outer Sunset Korean restaurant originally recommended by one of Andrew's friends.  Upon walking into the narrow front room, I momentarily wondered whether we'd actually entered some sort of tropical island-themed speakeasy, since there are no windows, the booths have bamboo curtains (of the marginally effective sort), the furniture is made of heavily varnished wood, the lighting is both dim and reddish, and the atmosphere definitely veers toward loud and lively.

We were seated after about 20 minutes and decided to share the seafood green onion pancake and a kimchee stew.  (Note that each booth has a buzzer, to be used for summoning the server.)  Banchan (side dishes) consisted of broccoli, dried/marinated tiny fish, bean sprouts, and kimchee, and were served alongside the pancake.  I'm used to eating green onion pancakes of the Chinese variety, which is practically the same as the Korean species (but without seafood), so this was very comfort food-like.

The kimchee stew with pork and vegetables was deeply flavored, pleasantly sinus-clearing, and generally a good complement to the mild pancake.

Even though I'd previously eaten Korean food on multiple occasions, this was actually my first time trying kimchee (in both unadulterated and stew form).  I liked it well enough as part of a varied meal, but not so well that I would crave it or want nothing else.