Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor: 4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Recommendation: Soon dubu crack house.
One of the foods I miss the most from Los Angeles is Soon Dubu. Restaurants like Tofu House serve up a scrumptious bowl of spicy tofu soup, which was a common late night snack. I had to make sure that I had a place in Taiwan to indulge in one of my favorite foods. After being tipped off by the hungryintaipei blog, I was determined to go and try Dubu House. Dubu house serves all the familiar soon dubu, sides, and BBQ items to alleviate your kimchi-itis. The price range is around 260 TWD per set meal, but it can run a little over 400 TWD if you get drinks and kalbi with your meal. The soup base was not as heavy and spicy compared to a medium at Tofu House, but the Soon Dubu here comes closer than the other "Tofu Pot" places I've encountered. Dubu house's exceptional food, sleek interior, and friendly service makes it an ideal place to drop a couple soju bombs over dinner with a couple friends.
I was already taken by lengthy standby line as I pushed myself threw the crowd to be seated at my reserved table. The reception area was wide enough to accomodate the stand-by crowd without affecting the flow of the reserved customers. Also, when you look in through the font door, you can't help but notice the group seating area's elegant arrangement. The soon dubu places I frequented in LA never had such a space, but I guess the restaurants I frequented were of lower class.
The restaurant seats about 50 people, but the seating arrangements were spaced well enough to make the restaurant feel roomy enough. The lighting was dim, and the various light fixtures were very intriguing. The use of deep colored wooden table tops definitely made the place look classier. The chairs were cushiony and comfortable, and the table setting was better than average.
Their service was complete, and they did preparations (like cracking the egg for you) that the stores in LA would not do for you. The restaurant is very popular and so the workers were really busy. It took me three attempts to successfully flag down my server. But when you do get their attention, they serve you with the utmost speed, care, and positivity. I give them a 4 out of 5 only because may be understaffed, and so our corner of the restaurant was not adequately attended.
The medium spicy level soon dubu in front of me was placed in a familiar container, but it already looked different than what I imagined it should look like. I have never tried authentic Korean soon dubu, and won't claim to be an expert in good soon dubu, but I know what I like, so I already spotted that the soup looked thinner and lighter than those served at Tofu House. When I tried it, my suspicions proved true, and so it is a toned down version of the soon dubu that I love. I guess they had to tweak the recipe to cater to the wider Taiwanese market whose taste buds don't like heavy tastes. Thus, the Taiwanese people I were with seemed to enjoy their soup very much. Nevertheless, each mouthful still carried that familiar taste of seafood, beef, and spiciness. Dubu house uses a high quality organic egg, which do the value of the soup. The tofu was soft and tender just like I envisioned it would be. Another qualm I have with this bowl is that the shrimp they used was a taiwanese local sea shrimp, which does not have the same flavor as the small weird looking egg-filled shrimp Tofu Houses in LA use. I like the small one better because is sweeter and has a richer shrimpiness to it. The clams used here are a not better than the ones in LA though, because Taiwanese clams are more flavorful than the manila clams tofu houses in LA may be using. I was very sad because they ran out of kalbi, even though we were one of the first customers of the restaurant. I was really looking forward to tearing up a piece, but that will have to be saved for another time. The side dishes were not very notable, it is too bad that they don't have the clam side dish. They provided kimchi, beansprouts, firm tofu, and a green vegetable. I will have to look around to find some Korean spicy raw crab as they did not serve that item here. Despite that, they get a 4 out of 5 in my book.