Just when you thought those Asian restaurants couldn’t get any better with the names, you get this one. To their credit, it’s simply branded as “B.C.D.” on their rooftop with some Korean words scribbled next to it. And, they’re in Flushing…
So why did we come to BCD? For their soft tofu stew. Oh, and my grandmother lives in Flushing.
Can I tell you something? I don’t even like tofu and if you know me, I hate stew. Okay, fine. I used to hate tofu. But now, I’m “eh” about it. Put it in a stone bowl that’s sizzling upon arrival and that “eh” turns into an “oh boy!” I’ll make an exception for stew if it’s in a hot stone bowl.
Before we go any further, just what is tofu? I think it’s a legit question to ask. Because, heck, I don’t even know and I ate it.
Tofu (豆腐) is made of… soy milk! Technically it’s more easily defined as bean curd, but that sounds really disgusting so let’s just stick with soy milk. Soy milk is made by soaking, grinding, boiling, and draining dried soybeans (Wikipedia, “Production” paragraph). You “coagulate” aka curdle soy milk with something acidic like lemon or vinegar. I mean, we’ve all coagulated something right? It’s like making buttermilk at home, where you add vinegar to milk. Then, when the curds form, you press it into blocks, separating it from the whey and you get… tofu!
And yes! The Chinese finally get credit for something that they invented! Tofu is only slowly beginning to gain momentum among non-Asians in America and I have to say, as someone who grew up on American food, I never touched tofu until I went to college. But it’s definitely worth trying. The authors of Skinny Bitch think so too (then again, they think that giving up meat and dairy is a must too…).
So back to BCD! We got to the restaurant a bit before noon on a Saturday and only two other tables were full. Within a couple seconds of handing us the menu, they brought out hot tea and within two to three minutes, we ordered. I know that Korean restaurants usually aren’t timed to the second like this, but the “banchan,” or the tiny plates of bean sprouts, radish, kimchi, tofu, etc., arrived within another two minutes. And as if that weren’t enough, they brought out more a couple of minutes later, seeing as we were a party of six.
- Kimchi: A tiny bit disappointing. I mean, it wasn’t bad or anything, but it wasn’t great. Sorta like the kimchi you get from the jar at the Asian market. Some of the really good kimchi that I’ve had have managed to retain a slight crunch despite the aging. This didn’t.
- Bean sprouts: Refreshing, crunchy, and cold. Save it for the tofu bowl where the crunch and coldness contrast the hot and soft texture from the tofu.
- Picked tofu: Ohhh, one of my favorites! The tofu is firm and very well spiced. I actually think that this tofu was better than the tofu from the stew tofu, but, more on that later.
- Picked radish: Not a big fan to begin with. Too sour. These were “eh” again, but I am not the right person to assess.
- Shredded Beef (Jang Jo Rim): It had a garlic on top. It was also cold and salty. Hm. I’m conflicted about this one.
- Dipping sauce with soy sauce, sesame seeds, and scallions (?): No idea what this was for. Nothing needed dipping, or so I thought.
Overall, the banchan was decent. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to make the grade. Service was quite speedy.
My aunt did most of the ordering when it came to the table food. After the banchan, the seafood pancake arrived. It was huge, probably about 18 inches in diameter and sliced into perfect pieces.
I was very disappointed. First off, Asian pancakes are my absolute favorite carbs in the world. Nothing makes me happier than a scallion pancake top with a scrambled egg. In fact, this morning I had a scallion pancake.
This pancake, however, was bland. It had tentacles (from tiny octopus), squid parts, and shrimp pieces. HOW WAS THERE NO FLAVOR? Sigh.
On the up side, my mother commented on how crisp the bottom of the pancake was. So at least they did something right.
On the flip side, there was also the kimchi pancake, which came out after we finished the seafood pancake. I thought this was phenomenal in terms of flavor. I absolutely loved the chunks of cabbage that you got with each bite and the speck of sourness that you’d detect every now and then. It’s also mildly spicy.
On the downside, this was not as crispy as the other pancake. If only they could have put two and two together. I also like how the pancakes were more expensive than the stew. HA!
Kimchi Soft Tofu: kimchi, choice of beef or pork ($9)
Finally, the soft tofu stew! We ordered three of them for the table. Each stew comes with two small bowls of rice, so it was plenty for the table. The stew also comes with a fresh egg on the side. Upon arrival, you crack the egg into it. The stone bowl is hot enough to cook the egg and if you’re lucky and get the egg whites onto the side of the bowl, the edges crisp up to become sorta like fried eggs.
The problem is, if you’re like me and my mom and don’t want to eat the egg yolk, it’s really difficult for the egg to cook in the stew. So if you’re not up for some good rawness and possible salmonella, I suggest you scramble the yolk into the whites with your chopsticks and thoroughly mix it down to the bottom of the bowl, where it’s nice and toasty.
I know, it looks a bit weird, even disgusting. You take a spoonful of tofu and lay it on top of the rice. I think that’s how you eat it. I’m pretty sure you don’t dump the rice to the stew bowl. First it’d overflow. Second, it’d get pretty soggy…
What I liked:
- The right about of spicyness: You can choose how spicy you want it as in “a little spicy,” “mildly spicy,” or “very spicy.” I got mildly spicy and it was spicy enough for me to get a runny nose but not spicy enough for me to tear. Perfect.
- The onions: I just really like onions.
What I disliked:
- The flavor: If you go to Yelp, you’ll find that several people have commented that the kimchi and pork soft tofu is the best. Without knowing that bit of info, I ordered the dish since you can’t go wrong with kimchi and pork. Well, the tofu was just plain spicy and didn’t really absorb the flavor of the kimchi. Overall, it was like eating spicy tofu, period. As if someone took cayenne pepper and cooked the tofu in it.
- Not enough pork: I think I only got two bites, sadly.
I guess the “dislike” outweighs the “like” in word count. Honestly, the last time I came here, I remember the tofu being alot better (but I only had a couple of bites since I had ordered the bibimap, which was stellar, but it could have been even more stellar had they offered it “dolsot” or in a stone bowl). Like I said, this place is known for their soft tofu stews, so maybe this was an off day.
And, in all fairness, $9 for this hefty meal is pretty much a steal. Unless if you’re my 6 ft tall cousin, you wouldn’t be able to finish this by yourself.
I was so impressed with the Cheese Duk Bokki at Arang that I just had to get it here. It counts as an appetizer so we were like, oh wells, there’s six people. We can eat it. WRONG! Too much food!
Duk Bokki is made of rice cakes. These rice cakes were in huge chunks and were sweet. I know that they’re rice cakes, but that’s actually very misleading since rice cakes come in a plain flavor (they’re sort of like pasta but made of rice) and many dishes that use rice cakes are savory.
So the rice cakes too were a disappointment. Somewhere in the middle, the rice cake lost all flavor, even sweetness. Good rice cakes are tender and chewy in a good way. These were tender at first but then almost rubbery (but at least soft rubbery). The only flavor that came from the dish was from the thin strips made of fish (they were also sweet). I wouldn’t order this again.
Overall, even though this was a somewhat more negative review, I have no complaints because of the price. For a party of six that left feeling as if they had just left Thanksgiving dinner, the bill came out to roughly $70! That’s a steal, even in Flushing. Sure you can get a huge bowl of noodles at the mall nearby for $5 a pop, but the $70 includes speedy service, nice plates, stone bowls, and ambiance. Did I mention enough food to stuff you silly?
This has nothing to do with BCD. But just as we finished lunch, Tina asked, “So what’s for dessert?” Patrick and I looked at each other.
Eventually we stopped at Carvel. Tina decided to stay in the car with our grandma and asked us to “surprise” her. We got into Carvel and looked around. First, it was actually connected to a Subway (seriously?) Second, the menu was scant and I didn’t want a sundae. Third, all I could think about was those crunchies smushed in between the ice cream layers of a Carvel ice cream cake.
So we got a cake.
Me: “Okay, so let’s get cake.”
Patrick: “Sure. Medium:
Me: “We can’t eat a medium.”
Patrick: “I don’t care. If we get cake it has to be medium.”
Me: “We can get it customized!”
Me: “Let’s write, ‘It’s a boy!'”
Patrick: “No. How about ‘Congratulations?’ [Tina got accepted into the college of her choice]”
Carvel lady: “Do you want a message on the cake?”
Me: “Yes, ‘It’s a boy!'”
Patrick: “No. ‘Congratulations!'”
Me: “‘NO, WRITE IT’S A BOY, TINA!'”
Carvel lady: [confused] “Do you mean, he‘s a boy?!”
Me: “No, ‘It‘s a boy!'”
Eventually, I wrote it out for her. She still seemed confused. After we paid and bagged the cake, she chuckled, maybe even giggled right as we turned around.
Patrick, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if we wrote “Congrats.” How terribly unsurprising.
That’s all. It was delicious, as expected.
Then I had food coma.
98 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11354