Tag Archives: restaurant review

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Amazingly, we were able to get two weekends in a row with some time for us to go out together without the kiddos (thanks, Aunt Cindy!). I said ‘hey you wanna try some more ramen?’ Kit was up for it and so we checked this place out. But it turned out that although they did have ramen, this was clearly a Korean restaurant in the middle of Bellevue. I thought ordering a Japanese dish at a Korean restaurant just seemed a little off, so I went in for something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – only had it in instant varieties thus far, so time to try the real thing. Let’s go!

COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

550 106th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 * Website

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

The menu.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

My awesome wife Kit. Before we went here, we went to a car wash and vacuumed out the minivan. Yes, we roll in a minivan – we have two kids. We actually really like it a lot. But after many trips to Canada with the kids and passing back snacks to toddlers in the back seat, something had to be done about the sea of crumbs on the floor. An odd way to start our little romantic outing I’ll admit, but definitely nice to have a clean ride again!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

I saw this one their online menu and thought to myself ‘finally.’ We’ve been out for Korean food many times, but never seen Budae Jjigae on the menu.

So as far as the ambiance of the place. It was pretty loud, despite not many being there. Blasting some rap (explicit versions) kind of made it a definite no-go for the label ‘family restaurant,’ and I think this place is probably pretty insane on a Friday night.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Kit ordered some beef and chicken teriyaki, which was the first to arrive at the table. Really good!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

We were both elated to see the inclusion of cream cheese tteokbokki on the menu. We used to frequent a little restaurant in Lynnwood called Chi Mc ‘n Hot Pot which had Korean bar food – and they had this dish. This one was more of a carbonara styled version whereas the original was with crabmeat.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Another favorite of our was the seafood pancake – always something worth getting. At this point I noticed something. No banchan. Where’s the banchan?! What’s banchan? Well, when you go out for Korean food usually you are presented with an array of little dishes with little things little kimchi, pickled radish, marinated vegetables, etc. Usually about eight or so of them. Not here.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Holy moly (click to enlarge). Wow – this looks fascinating. The ramyun noodle was just right – thick and chewy. Broth was strong but had that smack of bitter aftertaste I generally am not a big fan of. Heat level was on point – very strong and spicy. While the menu mentioned cheese, I really didn’t detect any, which was a little disappointing. But the sheer amount of different inclusions in here was just amazing and wonderful. Kimchi was great, soft tofu, salami, SPAM, – it goes on and on. No macaroni or beans however, which I has expected from the instants I’ve had. Long story short, this was quite good and definitely recommended. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

Let’s delve into what budae jjigae is.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Okay (click to enlarge) so budae jjigae translates to ‘troop stew.’ After the Korean War, US Troops left behind lots of the foods that they had brought. Some including pork and beans, SPAM, sausage – basically things that would last a long time. Well, the Koreans incorporated them into this dish.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

A side shot of the bowl (click to enlarge). Did I eat it all? Oh God no – this was a lot of food!

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka – Shio Tonkotsu – Bellevue, Washington

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

I’ve been asked many, many times to go try restaurant ramen by my readers. Well, Merry Christmas! As Gurney Halleck once said in the novel Dune, “Behold, as a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to my work.”

To be honest, this is a new frontier for me. In the past, I’ve been to one actual ramen restaurant and that was down in California. I did do a post on it, but that was a long time ago and I’d not really figured it would be a regular thing. This review begins what should be a slightly regular thing; I mean I’m not going every week or anything but often-ish; more often than I had in the past, that’s for sure.

I’ll review restaurants the same way I review everything else – from the standpoint of my palate.No science, no insanity. Ratings will be based solely on the ramoen – no appetizers/etcetera unless they’re extras that are really to upgrade the ramen.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka – Bellevue, Washington

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
103 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Menu

It had been quite a while since my wife and I had the chance to venture out by ourselves without the kiddos in tow. a one year old girl and a very, very rambunctious 2 1/4 year old just didn’t seem a good combo with bowls of hot noodles in broth. So we went to this ramen joint.

The wait to be seated was short – maybe 3 or 4 minutes which was nice. It was a Sunday in the early afternoon, however it was pretty busy there.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

We ordered a couple drinks – a melon float for my wife and a Coke float for me.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

We decided to try the karaage (click to enlarge). It’s been a couple weeks and I swore it was tonkatsu but that’s not on the menu so it must be karaage. Chicken was crisp and meat was tender and tasty.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

My wife ordered the Cha-shu Gohan – rice topped with pork which was very nice. We also got a couple from the ramen toppings menu – Bara Toro Cha-shu and Aji-Tama. The Bara Toro Cha Shu is pork cheeks and braised pork belly. I will say the pork belly was good as were the cheeks, however it did seem like there was linger of over cooked fat with them and that wasn’t to my liking.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

Here’s half of the Aji-Tama in my ramen. This was just excellent – marinated just the right amount and the yolk was just perfect – not too congealed, not too drippy.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

I ended up choosing the shio tonkotsu (click to enlarge). The noodles were great – nice and chewy with a great gauge to them. The broth was thick with a balance of shio and tonkotsu. I think was I wanted to be honest was an onslaught of creamy, rich tonkotsu with no distractions, but the shio really did go well. The cha-shu was excellent – could eat that for a whole day straight. A slice of narutomaki sat atop along with sesame, menma, kikirage… I know people are going to call me names, but I’ve never come in contact with that little berry looking things before – I thought ‘hey, is that a fresh Wolfberry?’ but it doesn’t look like it. It was crunchy and I believe it had a pit. Wasn’t sure if I was supposed to eat that or not – like a bay leaf. But then again, I eat bay leaves. I really liked the ramen. It was quite good, well presented and all. I just have to say it didn’t give me that ‘oh holy crap I have to tell everyone to come here immediately.’ 4.75 out of 5.0 stars.