I could try every single Korean restaurant in the Bay Area and still my craving for Korean cuisine wouldn’t be sated. When a group of friends invited me to try out Tobang, I knew it’d be worth the long drive to Santa Clara. Tobang is located in a nondescript strip mall, but a small crowd buzzing outside Tobang’s doors stays pretty consistent.
Eventually we were seated and the feast began. First came a sizzling plate of tender, oniony bulgogi and galbi, complete with an array of banchans. A cornucopia of sesame, salt, pepper and soy dipping bowls accompanied our meats, which we washed down in between bites of pickled vegetables.
Next came a series of stews and egg custard, including my favorite stew, soondubu, filled with comforting soft tofu and tender bits of beef in a fiery red pepper base. The finishing touch for the evening was our kimchi fried rice, which our server prepared at our table.
Tobang is hectic but worth the drive and worth the wait. A bonus was our super friendly waiter, who joked with us throughout our meal and served our kimchi fried rice with a cute gochujang pepper sauce smiley face. It’s the little things that count.