Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tov Tofu - Korean, Santa Rosa

1169 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa Ca 95405(707) 566-9469
Parking: in shopping center parking lot
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5pm-9pm, Closed Mondays

Last Visited: August 13, 2011

Food: 3 to 4 stars
Atmosphere: 3 stars
Service: 3 stars
Price: $$ to $$$

Shirley had suggested I try Tov Tofu and specifically, she noted that the seafood pancake was a must have item.  With that, it was a no brainer when Alice said we should check it out.  We arrived this warm evening and were a bit surprised that there didn't seem to be a cooling system of any type in place.  I'm not sure if there is central air conditioning or if they own a fan, but the doors were wide open and as a result, the flies had joined us.  This made the atmosphere slightly less appetizing, but we stayed nonetheless.

The decorations are fairly simple.  There is a lot of newer style wood paneling and burgundy vinyl chairs.  The large windows bring in good light.I noticed a Bible verse on the wall in Korean.  Located in the Whole Foods shopping center, it's a convenient spot with lots of easy parking.  The waiter was very friendly and happy to answer questions, but seemed to disappear for long periods of time since he was the only one that seemed to be serving this evening. 

We received seven small plates including side dishes such as kimchee, preseved tofu strips, pickled cucumber, preserved beans, seaweed, and other items.  These side dishes are known as banchan and I always find them fun since nobody seems to make them the same way. 

- Glass Noodles with Sauteed Vegetables - Glass noodles are stir-fried with beef, carrots, spinach, and soy sauce.  This was a well flavored dish and colorful too, but I still feel it was priced a tad too high.  $8.50

- Seafood and Green Onion Pancake - Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the green onion gives this savory pancake a good contrast in texture and flavor in combination with the seafood inside.  I think grated potato is what is creating the crispy texture.   It comes with a soy sauce based dipping sauce.  This is definitely unique and an enjoyable and filling treat. Very good.  $13.50

- BBQ Beef and Vegetable Bibimbab - Rice is cooked and topped with with barbecued beef, kimchi, egg, and vegetables (spinach, mushrooms, carrots, daikon radish, and bean sprouts in sizzling stoneware.  This was very colorful and tastedfine, but fairly average in the world of bibimbab.  If you haven't had it before, think of a very hot in temperature rice dish.  When mixed thoroughly with the spicy red sauce, it will warm your insides.  $13.50

While the food is authentic and has good flavor, I found the dishes to be a little on the small side or rather, that the prices were higher than what I would expect to pay considering the portions we received.  The glass noodle dish was probably the most expensive when it comes to value.  Tov Tofu is nice for a change of pace in Sonoma County and offers a flavorful selection, but the service and pricing have opportunities for improvement.  Small adjustments to these would draw a larger following of both regulars and visitors.

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