Shin Toe Bul Yi – Home-style Korean Food in Parkside
Sitting on the corner of Taraval & 30th, right in front of an L-line stop, is Shin Toe Bul Yi – a tiny Korean restaurant of no more than a dozen tables. The space may be small, but thankfully the flavors aren’t. They serve classic, simple, Korean dishes that are full of flavor set in a very homely and welcome atmosphere.
As is customary with most Korean restaurants, they serve complimentary banchan, a selection of multiple small dishes. The dishes will sometimes vary, but will usually include kimchi, tofu, sprouts, assorted vegetables, or seaweed. If you prefer certain dishes over others, or finish, they will glady replenish your stock throughout the meal.
One very nice thing about Shin Toe Bul Yi is that in addition to the banchan, they give you a big bowl of spicy tofu soup. I personally love tofu soup and will often order some with meat and vegetables, but the fact that they serve this simple complimentary dish just makes the experience even better because it allows me to try something else on the menu! The soup isn’t too spicy, so if you like your food with some heat like I do, just ask them to make it spicier.
The dish that everyone seems to recommend here also happens to have the best name ever – Chicken Small Pieces Little Spicy (Deep Fried) (pictured above). The chicken is crispy and slightly oily on the outside and moist on the inside with just a tiny bit of spice. It’s such a simple dish but executed well and it’s amazingly consistent. Similar to San Tung’s Dry Fried Chicken Wings, practically every table has an order.
Japchae is a classic Korean dish made with cellophane noodles, vegetables, and usually pork or beef. I prefer to order mine without any meat because there’s usually an abundance of meat already on the table. The japchae here is really good, and not too oily. The assorted vegetables (carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, green onions) are not overcooked and still have some crispness to them, which I like. This and the Chicken Small Pieces Little Spicy (Deep Fried) are my default orders, every time.
Another staple in Korean cuisine is kalbi, or marinated and grilled beef shortribs. The ribs are marinated in a house special sauce and grilled to order, coming out to your table sizzling and steaming. I can’t say it’s the best kalbi I’ve ever had, but I also can’t think of a time I’ve had bad kalbi. Another can’t-miss dish.
The Calamari Bok-Um is sauteed calamari and vegetables in a sweet and spicy sauce. Most of the flavor comes from the sauce, which isn’t very spicy at all but is more sweet, as well as oily. The vegetables don’t really add much to the dish, but the sauteed calamari tossed in the sauce make up for it. Pictured: calamari with bul go gi (marinated beef rib eye) and vegetables. I would order most beef dishes as their own separate dish, such as bul go gi and kalbi.
The baked mussels caught my eye on the menu, because frankly, I love them. They are baked with a creamy mayonnaise-based garlic sauce, which slightly overpowered the natural taste of the mussels (which I like), rather than complimenting it. They were still good, just nothing special compared to the rest of what’s available on the menu.
What does make a meal special, however, is having something to wash it all down with. When you’re eating Korean food, that will assuredly be soju and beer. Order a bottle of plain Jinro soju ($10), which serves around 8 shots, and a large bottle of OB beer ($5) and consider your meal complete. The soju is only around 20% alcohol, so if you’re with a small group, don’t be shy about ordering another bottle or two!
Shin Toe Bul Yi is a great, low-key restaurant in the Parkside/Outer Sunset area and is worth the trip out there. It’s also right along an L-Taraval stop, so it’s easy to get to if you don’t have a car, such as myself. It’s usually full and they don’t take reservations, so expect a wait but it shouldn’t be inexcusably long unless you’re with a group larger than 4 people. It’s also fairly easy on the wallet, with most dishes ranging from $8-15.
Shin Toe Bul Yi
2001 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA 94116
Photos courtesy of Yelp.com
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Filed under: Outer Sunset, Restaurants, Reviews | 4 Comments
Tags: banchan, fried chicken, kalbi, Korean, shin toe bul yi, soju