Sura: Korean BBQ and other delights

We didn’t actually have any barbecue when we had dinner at Sura last night but we did see a beautiful plate of thinly sliced beef piled high with fresh vegetables, including giant mushrooms, taken to a nearby table.

Usually I have a bowl of mushroom soon at Pyung Chang, a tofu stew house on Telegraph. I like the rough-cut tables (it looks like one tree made all the tables and stools) that show their tree-form and I love the rice that comes in stone crocks (stone?). The rice keeps cooking, forming a crisp crust in the bowl. I’ve had it the traditional way — with barley tea poured over it — but prefer pulling the crisp pieces out and dipping them into my soon. It’s often crowded in the evenings, but if I eat alone, grading papers while eating panchan, treats in small bowls: Kim chee of different varieties, lotus root, parsley finely chopped with tofu, mung beans. I usually order my soon spicy; it comes with a couple of slices of jalapeno burbling around in the stew. Yum.

Last night, though, Mister and I tried Sura, a barbecue house a block away from Pyung Chang. It is more formal, with a wide, open room and standard black lacquered chairs around rectangular tables. The staff here is in black with long aprons as opposed to the more casual Pyung Chang.

I ordered mushroom soon while Mister had the Bee-bim Bop. The soon wasn’t as spicy as I like and while they offer two kinds of rice (white or brown that is mixed with beans), the rice doesn’t come in the crispy-making pot. Still, it was delicious. Silky tofu, chopped zucchini, and mushrooms in chili-paste infused broth. It really is a stew and comes bubbling to the table.

While we waited, we were treated to steamed eggs. img_0102.jpgThe eggs come bubbling in an earthenware pot with a little water in the bottom. They were light and airy. We also had more panchan dishes then we knew what to do with. I devoured the mung beans, spinach, parsley and tofu, dried and sugared seaweed and about eight other dishes.

Mister’s Bee-bim Bop looked beautiful (no photo) but the meat was a little gristly. We’d like to go back with The Footles and a few others to try the barbecue. Seems like it would be best with a quartet or sixtet.

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