Here I was. Back at the scene of the crime. Almost 2 months after I first injured my knee in hockey, I was playing with the same group when it occurred. I held no ill will towards the individual who caused it because he's a good guy. But deep down inside, I was channeling Ron Hextall into my body... Okay, I didn't actually give him a 2-hander, rather, I merely played on the same side which meant less chance of it happening again. This was, in fact, my 3rd time playing hockey since coming back and my knee has been fine. As for my conditioning, well, that was another matter. Halfway through the session, I was struggling big time. When I got home, I was in no mood to cook and with frigid temperatures, it was as good as any time to head out to House of Tofu Soup.
Located along the North Road Korean "town" corridor, as their name implies, HoTS specializes in hot stone tofu soups. Not the prettiest of dining spaces, it does the job with the bare minimum. As with most Korean meals, we were presented with a variety of Banchan to start. From the bottom (clockwise), we had kimchi, seaweed, pickled radish & onion and mashed potato salad. These were pretty basic and a bit underwhelming. The seaweed was limp and bland while the potato salad had a weird texture. I guess using Idahoan instant mash potatoes would be the reason why. Although the kimchi was slightly sweet, it still had some good heat and crunch. Since we came here for the Tofu Soup, we got an order with a mix of seafood and meat. Arriving bubbling hot, a freshly cracked egg went into the soup. This was extremely satisfying with soft, slippery tofu pieces, beef, whole shrimp and clams. We went for mild and it had just a hint of spice to go with a good balance of sweet and savoury. The seafood added an extra kick of flavour which was pleasant to the tastebuds. This really hit the spot considering the temperature outside.
Since their menu is pretty simple, we struggled to find things we wanted to order and I guess for no other reason than the process of elimination, we got the Goon Mandu (fried dumplings). These were certainly fried alright. They were very crispy and glistening. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the filling though. It was mealy and dry where the meat was not even discernible. Furthermore, the whole thing needed more seasoning. However, we do realize that, much like other dumplings, the dip provides most of the flavour punch, which was the case here. As for our other dishes, we got the usual stuff starting with the Dolset Bibimbap. The darn thing came burning hot, which partially helped
counteract the slightly wet rice. In fact, the stone bowl was so hot, it was able to form an excellent rice crust (which the kiddies loved). The ingredients looked fresh and provided the textural crunch to the rice.
Lastly, the other usual dish was the Japchae which was a pretty large portion. There was plenty of tender beef and veggies (in particular, broccoli). This would've been a pretty solid dish if it weren't so wet and greasy. I thought the flavour was in good balance, neither being too sweet (which it can be) nor too salty. Overall, we enjoyed our meal here despite its shortcomings. I think if one stuck with the tofu soups and didn't deviate much the other menu items, it would definitely hit the spot (even in the summer).
- Satisfying tofu soup
- Friendly, if not sparse service
- Other than the soups, everything else is mediocre (well the bibimbap was not bad)
- Not a place you'd want to linger
- What a tiny parking lot, if it's full you're SOL