27 3 / 2012
We have to admit to some bias here. It boils down to this: Tofu Village is the reason that this whole Kimchi Diaries thing started in the first place. We’d all go there together and marvel at how tasty everything was, and then one day someone sighed and said that the only thing the food was missing was a grander purpose…and this blog was born (okay, it might not have been exactly like that but close enough). So in reading this entry, please remember that we have a soft spot for this humble restaurant. Also, as you can see, we were feeling a little emotional because it was A.J.’s last Kimchi Diary for a couple of months (he’ll be in Vancouver for a super secret project until the beginning May). We’ll try to do our best without him.
We aren’t too worried, he’ll come back! Someone recently, and astutely, noted that we might not make it around the block and this pace, so chances are good that we won’t even have hit Bathurst by the time he’s finished in Vancouver!
Tofu Village, though, is a jewel of Koreatown. Maybe it’s because it’s within spitting distance of the “sexy” dated posters of the Metro Theatre that it comes off as so sparkling and clean. The lights are bright, the décor minimal, and the restaurant big, so it gives you the sense of eating at an Ikea-sponsored restaurant. No matter! Tofu Village has lots more to offer than just minimal design.
See our second-last post for a good spot for soon tofu – but see this post to find out where you can get all manner of tofu-related delights. First of all, Tofu Village has seafood and tofu pancakes, which are absolutely delicious. These pancakes set Tofu Village apart from the competition. Crunchy, chewy, salty, and buttery, served with a gyoza sauce deal, they are a definite must for anyone hitting this spot. True story: after eating one for the first time a few months ago, our friend Rich M. exclaimed that it was the best thing he had ever tasted in his entire life! (He might have been exaggerating.)
Aside from that, while the banchan is pretty standard, they do mix it up in a few important ways. First of all, the kimchi is the best that we’ve had on the strip so far (we’ve only been to two other Korean joints though). Word on the street (ahem, via Toronto Life) is that they make their kimchi daily, so it might not be as fermented as other places but it makes up for it in deliciousness!
Another banchan highlight are these tofu slivers served with tiny broccoli. Delicious! We doubled down on the tofu, the kimchi, and the delicious marinated potatoes.
For the main dishes, A.J. ordered the veggie and beef glass noodles. They’re in the appetizers section but make a great main (they’re also prominently featured in a massive photo on the wall). Beth went with the veggie bibimbap, and Dan went hard on the meat and ordered the BBQ beef ribs. The glass noodles were delicious – a little sticky, served piping hot, and infused with small slivers of beef and veggies. Tasty, filling, and priced like an appetizer: bonus! The bibimbap was top notch – super fresh, spiced nicely, and it also included a nice proportion of veggies.
The BBQ beef ribs were tasty as well, but didn’t blow Dan’s mind like the Clinton’s chicken wings did (we know, apples and oranges).
All in all, we ate more than our fair share of the bottomless banchan, devoured our tofu pancakes, and were deeply stuffed after our mains. We were this happy:
We’re telling you, Tofu Village is the real deal! It remains our go-to spot despite the many Koreatown options ahead and behind. Four and a half snowflakes!