We were meeting up with Pdho’s friends for dinner, and since Irvine has a pretty diverse selection of restaurants to choose from, we decided on Korean and found one located quite central for most people. Koba Tofu Grill is located in a strip mall along Culver Dr. I remembered eating there when it used to be a BCD Tofu House, but I guess it has changed over the years. The restaurant looks a little sleeker and newer with it’s grey and granite decor, but the menu looked pretty typical for Korean tofu house. There was a selection of different soon du boo’s (tofu soups), appetizers, and Korean barbecued meats. Pdho and I ended up ordering tofu soup and BBQ meat combination along with a seafood pancake to share.
I was a little bit scared of the levels of spiciness after being burned the last couple of times with Thai and Korean food, so I went with the mild spicy seafood soon du boo. Unfortunately, it ended up tasting pretty bland to the point that Pdho had to take the kim chi from the ban chan and add it to the soup. The soup with filled with nice chunks of tofu which I always like.
I guess it’s typical for these deep-fried fishes to come with the tofu soups. Most of the time, I stay away because there are usually a lot of little bones that make eating it a cumbersome chore, because I’m always picking them out or trying to avoid them. However, this particular fish was full of flaky fish meat and light on the bones. I really liked it.
I really like the Seafood Pancake, but I’m obviously never able to finish it on my own. This version was decent and filled with lots of scallions, green peppers and seafood, but I have had better. Pdho’s friends ordered the Kim Chi Pancake which I have never ever had before. It looked pretty much like its seafood-filled brother, but I can only assume it had kim chi instead. It had a lot more kick, but I think I still prefer the pancake with seafood.
There was a very healthy serving size of Kalbi that came with the combination meal. The meat was on the fatty side, but it was well-marinaded and nicely grilled. It was also a little bit on the chewy side so taking all the meat off the bone was a bit difficult, but it really tasted fine.
Overall, the food was good, but I can’t say that anything tasted especially different or memorable compared to other Korean restaurants that I have been to. The combination meals are a good deal. There is plenty of food at a very reasonable price. Although I think there are probably other better places in the area like Shik Do Rak for BBQ and BCD for tofu soup, I wouldn’t mind coming back here next time because unlike those other places, there is rarely as long of a wait here.
Koba Tofu Grill
14370 Culver Dr. Ste J
Irvine, CA 92604
PAFO Ratings for Koba Tofu Grill:
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3½ stars