1989 Silver Bell Road
As recently mentioned in my bucket list titled "A taste of our favorites/Our loyal rotation," Jake and I wanted take-out from Hoban before we leave for Fargo near the end of next month.
We spent a large portion of our day deep-cleaning the condo before it's first showing next Monday. Two weeks has not allowed for much time to get our place ready to be listed and we are doing our best to speed pack. Thank you to Brenda, Jake's mom who spent hours helping us clean and pack. Brenda also brought over cupcakes that I actually liked. Quite a bit.
In the evening, we called in an order at Hoban. I ate my Korean food locked in the ventilated bedroom hiding from the oven's self-cleaning fumes. Jake did not bat an eye as he sat amongst the fumes.
Hoban packed up banchan including sweet and chewy chunks of creamy potato, pickled radish, kimchee, crunchy pickled cucumbers, sweet marinated bean sprouts, and pickled radish-carrot slaw.
I love pickled vegetable and I love banchan, but my favorites were the cucumbers, bean sprouts and kimchee. Everything tasted especially fresh and crunchy this evening.
I've always enjoyed kimchee.
Jake doesn't crave kimchee or go out of his way to eat kimchee, but enjoyed it on his first taste. I usually order some kind of jun, or Korean pancake. My favorite is the meat jun stuffed with beef bulgogi, but tonight I ordered a kimchee jun.
The kimchee pancake was kind of soggy and I am not sure if that's because it was packed in to-go containers, but we enjoyed it regardless. Kimchee was stuffed between the soft pancake layers, accompanied by a soy sauce dip flavored with green onion, sesame, and red pepper. Comforting and fun to eat.
Jake's favorite dish at Hoban is their pork bulgogi. On some days, it's quite spicy and on others it's tame. I find that their pork bokum is spicier since it includes stir fried jalapeno slices. Tonight, the pork bulgogi was tasty, but on the mild side. It is served on top of mushrooms and raw onions slices. The mushrooms tasted past their prime, but I always enjoy alternating bites of grilled meat with raw onion.
We both considered the the Kal bi the showstopper of the evening. The beef short ribs tasted of marinade and smoke. They were a mix of chewy, fatty, tender, and char. This may sound unappealing, but we enjoyed the contrasting textures, the flavor of the melting fat, and cleaned the short ribs to the bone. I appreciated that the marinade was not cloyingly sweet and that every once in a while, I bit into a nub of crispy, charred fat. The short ribs were also served on a bed of raw onion slices.
Half of the kal bi and pork bulgogi's take-out containers were filled with steamed rice. We also received another small container of more steamed rice. Rice overkill, but I often turn leftover steamed rice into homemade fried rice. Our total bill came to about $40 including tax.
My comparison of Hoban to local Korean Restaurants
Of the local Korean restaurants I have tried, Sole Cafe was the spiciest, most complexly flavored, and most generously portioned. However, I liked that Hoban's short ribs were not as sweet (although Sole Cafe's were also delicious). I really only love Mirror of Korea for their mandu, which is better than Hoban and Dong Yang. I have enjoyed Dong Yang in Colombia Heights, but don't crave it enough to make the drive. However, Dong Yang made a really delicious, corpulently stuffed jun filled a variety of seafood ranging from shrimp to octopus. I found Dong Yang's pork bulgogi to be more thickly cut, saucy, and fatty. The fat was rendered until crisp, almost like bacon, but the sauce struck me as sweeter and less spicy.
Stay tuned for Bucket List Chronicles Part II. . .