Best Asian Restaurants: Korean

Northwest by Far East: the Insider’s Guide to Asian Food in Seattle

January 25, 2011 Published in the February 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Prawn in chili paste.

Food Styling: Tyler Rebman
Prop Stylist: Gabriel Trivelas

Their menu is a cosmopolitan globetrotter, but Joule chef-owners Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi infuse the food with signature Korean flavors—deep, dark, and dank as a Wallingford basement, with spicy pings of chili pepper running interference against funk overload.

Who’s here The whole dang neighborhood likes to cheer up inside this noisy, butter-hued cafe. Make a reservation.
Don’t miss The kooky kimchi remixes—pear, shiitake, kohlrabi—and the BBQ board where a grilled version of the fermented cabbage serves as crunchy vegetal counterpoint to sweet chili sausage and silken short ribs.
Pssst Yang and Chirchi are now having fun with their food in Fremont, too: Pan-Asian street food joint Revel opened on North 36th Street this December.

Joule, 1913 N 45th St, Wallingford, 206-632-1913;

Korean Tofu House
When the cramped and carbon-stinky Korean Tofu House spread out into the space next door, it secured proper ventilation in the process. You may still endure a midday wait—tofu houses are the thing in Korean food right now—but you’ll no longer leave smelling like you’ve spent your lunch break around a campfire.

Who’s here Korean college kids looking for a taste of home for under $10.
Don’t miss Kimchi beef sundubu jjigae is a gurgling concoction of bubbly broth and tofu funked up with fermented cabbage. It’s meaty in essence if not in actuality—just a few slices float around the soup.
Pssst When the woman comes by and offers to crack a raw egg over your clay pot of stew, nod. It adds a viscous richness to the hearty soup.

Korean Tofu House, 4142 Brooklyn Ave NE, University District, 206-632-3119

Old Village Korean Restaurant
Most Korean BBQ spots have switched to electric, but Old Village’s dark booths deliver genuine authenticity, thanks to the old-school charcoal grills for browning the raw bits of bulgogi, marinated beef and pork, that servers slice up (with scissors!) at the table. Diners bop around to ’80s tunes (Madonna!) and try to decipher the mysteries of a muted news broadcast beamed in from Seoul.

Who’s here Young families whose smallest members love the robotic grill hoods that descend from the ceiling to cover the heating coals.
Don’t miss Anything grilled. Eat meat or opt for a medley of mushrooms.
Pssst No need to fight over the macaroni salad. If you fall for a particular side dish ( banchan ) and run out, ask for more. Servings are unlimited.

Old Village Korean Restaurant, 15200 Aurora Ave N, Ste D, Shoreline, 206-365-6679

NEXT: Best Laotian

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