Like many fellow Edmontonians, I've been living in a state of denial for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, it's come to a point where I can't deny the truth any longer.
Winter is coming.
On second thought, scratch that. Winter is here. And here to stay.
A snowy cold Sunday brought us to Tofu House, a huge, but humble Korean restaurant, for a bit of warmth and comfort. The restaurant is a former Swiss Chalet, located southside in a mainly industrial area.
Like mentioned earlier, the restaurant space is unnecessarily big, with plenty of booth and table seating available. Based on the outdated and eccentric decor, it's safe to say there wasn't much done in terms of renovations. I'm not sure why, but they also had some nifty disco lighting going on.
The obligatory banchan that comes complimentary with your meal -- kimchi and pickled radish. The standard stuff.
Black beans and beansprouts. The black beans were a bit of a surprise because they still retained a toothsome quality to them.
We started things off with the haemul pajeon ($19.00), a seafood and green onion pancake. A duo of sauces was provided on the side -- the standard sesame-soy-vinegar concoction and a slightly spicier version. This was probably the highlight of our meal. The pancake was crispy but super light. Almost airy when compared to denser and doughier versions I've had in the past.
My sister recommended that we get the spicy chicken ($23.00), a stir-fried medley of chicken, onions, carrots, cabbage, and green onions, all served on a sizzling hot plate. If you know me, I'm a bit of a wimp with spicy foods but I actually enjoyed this. I've come to realize that I'm not a big fan of "Tabasco" spice, but I'll take gochujang any day. Also, my nose may or may not have been running while eating this, but it's a sacrifice I'll live with for flavour.
Next up, we have one of Tofu House's signature dishes, soondubu jjigae or soft tofu stew. There are eight different types on the menu, including beef, kimchi, and a dumpling version. We went for seafood ($16.00), which had shrimp, clam, and squid. Not too much seafood going on, but there was plenty of soft tofu, zucchini, and a raw egg bubbling away. The soup is only mildly spicy and it's the perfect comfort food to warm up with for the winter.
The soondubu also comes with a hot stone bowl filled with purple rice and peas.
Last dish of the night. Fried chicken is all the rage in Edmonton right now so we gave their version of KFC a try. Four pieces will set you back about $17.00, and we requested it to be prepared half and half. Half deep fried and half spicy. The chicken has a crackly, crispy skin but the meat is slightly dry. The deep fried version comes sans any sauce or seasoning, so it's a bit plain in that respect. The spicy rendition is the one you should be getting out of the two, but it's barely spicy; more of a sweet glaze if anything. It's not the best KFC in town but it's a respectable contender.
A few notes to mention before closing -- pricing is slightly on the expensive side but portion size seems to make up for it. Service was nice, but it can be a bit slow, especially at the start. Overall, we enjoyed Tofu House. It's a good place for when the Korean food craving hits (... and for escaping the winter cold).