TOFU KA Korean Restaurant
In Mira Mesa, Tofu Ka took over the location where Fuze korean fusion had been. We had heard rumors beforehand and were curious to check it out for ourselves.
Inside the restaurant, they took away the empy bar area in the back and added decent lighting! I think this is a big improvement over the strange 'night club' look from before. I seriously wonder if they ever threw parties back there with a dj or something. Anyway, there's plenty of seating for diners between the patio and indoor areas. We decided to sit indoors.
First off, we noticed they served fruit infused water! The fruits seem to vary on the days but included a mix of pineapples, strawberries and oranges from what we saw. Also behind it is a discrete utensil box so grab your spoon and chopsticks from there! We were wondering where it was at first!
The banchan served here includes the typical items but also had pickled jalapenos which weren't as spicy as Dennis expected. Also, they have this potato salad side that Dennis likes. The fried fish however was not quite our thing because it has small bones in it and tastes bitter. There was one tofu side which was simple and nice... I kept getting refills on it!
For appetizers, we chose the Gun Mandoo ie Pan Fried Homemade Dumpling. These were almost the size of a child's fist and were very meaty inside. The filling also included carrots and green onion and were made from scratch. Unfortunately, these were TOO big to actually be pan fried and weren't as crispy as we would have liked. They did break apart a bit as we were eating due to weight and build. The sauce in the middle paired well and added a spicy component to it.
We were also debating getting the Crispy Tofu but lucky for us, we got to try it for free! The waiter told us that if you check into yelp, you could redeem a free tofu! (once per account). These were very enjoyable with the panko crispy topping, and reminded Dennis of the chicken katsu style flavoring. Usually tofu is the lighter fried agadashi tofu that can break but this fried outer casing held its shape very well. The simple soy sauce based dip was light and not salty. It's a very popular starter and we can see why.
We ordered the dinner night special with the assorted tofu and a meat of choice. The Pork Bulgogi meat is usually served slightly spicy to medium spicy but this one was more on the sweeter side than typical but the flavor was still good. Yay for the cow plate!
We were given the choice of normal rice or purple rice. The purple rice is slightly different with the taste but it all goes down the same pipe! I think I still prefer regular rice though!
The Assorted Soon Tofu with seafood including a HUGE shrimp at the bottom and also the standard raw egg to drop inside. There was tons of tofu of course. The level 1 spice wasn't too spicy so I enjoyed it. I always let the soups cool a good bit so we can actually taste the soup and not burn the tongue! It felt very much like good 'ol comfort food. I'm liking tofu soup very much these days!
We also got the Bulgogi Hot Pot Rice Bowl. There's still a good amount of food in this dish but rice was not as crispy as we prefer.
That was a adequate sampling of the restaurant but Dennis decided to go back the VERY NEXT NIGHT! I was busy so he met up with our consultant David.
The chicken wings were served in several styles and they selected the Korean Style Wings. They said it was pretty good but the outside was slightly overcooked. It was also more like sweet and mild.
This is the Osam Bulgogi Bokkumbab - Spicy Squid and Pork Belly Fried with mixed vegetables and fried rice. The entree was huge and stated to serve about three people. I'm not sure why they ordered it with just the two of them! What first came out was a wide pot with vegetables and seafood cooked over a simmering spicy sauce.
What you do with it is take the lettuce and greens provided and create your own lettuce wraps! They were able to create several wraps before becaming semi-full. The flavor itself was pretty spicy and they even requested that they bring it down a level!
The restaurant staff came by, took the remaining leftovers from the pot and made it into spicy seafood fried rice! The amount of fried rice afterwards was also enough for three people! Dennis actually liked the fried rice part more because the mixture lowered the spicyness level to something more tolerable. In addition, some of the seafood meat was brought out separately onto a small plate as leftovers. This was the first time for a dish like this so we're all curious if any other restaurants have something similar!
And... three days later, all of us were back again (thanks Dennis for setting up ANOTHER visit). He really wanted to get the hot pot.
This was the Tofu Beoseot Jungol, ie Tofu and Mushroom Hot Pot. There was a good amount here too, enough for three people, with tons of tofu and assorted mushrooms including enoki and large king oyster mushrooms. It wasn't advertised in the menu but there were also dumplings (like the appetizer) mixed in! We thought the dumplings worked here much better than as an appetizer. This was quite yummy as a whole.
I had to try the Bulgogi Japchae since it's one of my preferred dishes. This had the most meat we've ever seen plus the portions were huge too. The meat influenced the flavor quite a bit due to the quantity yet still had the sesame oil taste lingering. I approve of this dish too.
David wanted the Haemool Pajun - Korean Style Seafood and Scallion Pancake that he had seen the previous visit. It came in a huge portion (12" diameter?) cut into six slices and was accompanied by dipping sauce similar to the crispy tofu sauce. It was a reasonable thickness and filled with shrimp, scallions, and even octopus. For Dennis, this tasted like vietnamese banh xeo except heftier. I didn't initially want it but changed my mind after trying it. It was decent by itself but perfected with the sauce. We also ordered additional dipping sauce to finish it off!
So after multiple visits within one week, I think the staff were beginning to recognize us! We were pretty pleased with the new restaurant offerings and I'm sure we'll be back again. I also like the night lighting of Tofu Ka. If you're driving around Mira Mesa, this may help you find it at night!
TOFU KA Korean Restaurant (closed)
9379 Mira Mesa
San Diego CA 92126