Excite your palate with many different tastes of dishes to try for just $13. In addition, K Grill & Tofu House offers two unique items you won’t find at most other restaurants.
K. Grill & Tofu House just about rivals this Vietnamese restaurant with 7 courses of beef for $25.
Who doesn’t love free food?
Most restaurants will give you some type of appetizer as a freebie, such as bread and butter, pickles, or nuts. However, most Korean restaurants will give you an assortment of side dishes at no extra charge.
All you can eat “Banchan”
Korean restaurants, in general, are unique for that reason. The additional side dishes, known as “banchan,” are complimentary with your meal. In addition, you are often able to ask for seconds or thirds at no additional charge.
It is standard for any Korean meal to have a variety of pickles, kimchis, and salted vegetables to eat alongside your rice and main dishes.
K. Grill & Tofu House restaurant in San Bruno, CA stands out because each of the six side dishes they offer is exceptionally well done. Not too sweet or salty and piled high in the little bowls they come in.
Pictured above clockwise from the top left are 1) mung bean sprouts, 2) a seasoned dark green vegetable, 3) stir fried fish cakes, 4) stewed kabocha pumpkin, 5) wakame seaweed salad, and 6) napa cabbage kimchi.
Complimentary with your entree order is a little fried fish. This one appears to be a baby yellow croaker. Salted and deep fried, you will need to pick the flesh from around the bones.
Fried fish is a traditional accompaniment to hot tofu soup that not many restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area provide. In other Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, the complimentary fish may be a little bigger.
See you “Soon du bu”
What most people come to K. Grill & Tofu House is for the “Soon du bu” or hot tofu soup. It comes to your table in a miniature black cauldron that bubbles upon arrival. A combination of Korean red chili powder, extra soft tofu, it is a casserole of sorts with your choice of beef, seafood, and or mushrooms.
You can specify the spiciness with mild, medium, hot or extra spicy. Either way, the temperature will be so hot, you will need to scoop a bit onto your spoon, blow to cool down, and gently slurp it into your mouth.
Related: Make your own Vegan Tofu Soup
Don’t forget the egg
A raw egg is also provided and meant to be cracked and dropped into the pot as it bubbles. Spoon hot soup over it, so it will cook more quickly. You will end up with a soft boiled egg, once the bubbling dies down.
Stay for the Rice Bowl
Instead of a bowl of white rice, they serve a mixed grain rice in a stainless steel pot. This would traditionally be in a stone pot, called “dol sot.”
At K. Grill, they use a stainless steel bowl with a wooden cover, perhaps because it is a bit cheaper and easier to clean.
Still, it is steaming hot and much appreciated. The rice purposely sticks to the bottom of the pot. Once you’ve scooped out most of the rice, they will give you a thermos of hot tea to pour on top. You can loosen the crispy bits from the bottom of the pot.
Related: How to Make the Best Rice
The burned rice on the bottom is prized in Asian cuisine and not thrown away. Just add hot water and eat it as a porridge.
Splurge and order the Kalbi Beef Ribs
Besides tofu soup, they make solid food. The kalbi Korean beef ribs are freshly grilled with crunchy bits of char. The beef is tenderized so well it only requires a gentle bite. The seasoning is a spot on combination of sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. This is not included in the $13 package but must be ordered separately.
There are many Korean restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, but this one is special. To recap what you get for $13:
- Hot Tofu Soup – with beef, seafood, and/or mushrooms
- Dol Sot Rice – served in a stainless steel pot
- Baby fried fish
- Mung bean sprout salad
- Seasoned green vegetable
- Stir-fried fish cakes
- Stewed kabocha squash
- Wakame seaweed salad
- Homemade napa cabbage kimchi
For just $13, it is almost like the prices have been rent controlled. Unlike other restaurants with sweet deals, the service is noticeably more friendly and polite. They will say hello and goodbye when you leave and serve with a generous smile.
Asahi beer and Blue Moon are on tap, along with bottles of soju and cans of Korean beer.
Located in downtown San Bruno, street parking is available. Even when there are not many people walking around in the neighborhood, every table in this restaurant will be packed.
If you can’t make it to K. Grill, at least go try a Korean restaurant near you, and see which dishes you’ll get for “free.”
617 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066
Open for lunch and dinner daily, except Tuesday
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