Tofu au Naturel.

Last week, I took a few of my friends to Natural Tofu in Sunnyside.  As I suspected, they quite enjoyed the massive $8 tofu bowls, as well as the lovely array of panchan (though not everyone thought kimchi was a good idea – heathens).  But we tried a few other things, too.  The barbecued squid ($12) that I had noticed on my first visit was a must – unfortunately I found it a bit disappointing.  Some pieces were admittedly lovely, but some were a bit funny in the flavor department – similar to squid ink’s funky flavor, maybe.  I’d probably eschew ordering it again.

Much better, and also $12, was the enormous plate of what they called “spicy pork fried,” or pork bulgoki.  If you’re annoyed at how little meat you get in a typical serving at an average Korean restaurant, never fear – the heap of pork is big enough to feed two, and you’ll have none of that lettuce stuff to crowd the table with.  The sauce is a little mustardy and perhaps not spicy enough, but the pork is blessedly chewy (none of that melt-in-your-mouth stuff for me on this dish, thanks!).

My friend was also pleased with his dolsot bibimbap, the rice and additions dish that you mix together in the same kind of stone crock as the tofu, though I didn’t have enough of a taste to feel like it distinguished itself from any other iteration of the dish.

One other interesting wrinkle from the rice department: as we were a party of four, we apparently merited our own crock of white rice, which was initially ladled out to us in shiny individual bowls.  But, after that, instead of whisking away the crock, a clear liquid (which I later found out was tea) was poured in with the crust of rice that had accumulated on the crock.  Instant dessert!  The rice took on the faint sweetness of the barley tea and was a nice palate cleanser after stuffing ourselves silly.

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