I wasn't sure what to expect pulling up to a restaurant in a strip mall. Once seated at their beautiful wood dining tables I immediately forgot where I was and became deeply immersed in the menu and calm environment. I have returned several times since my first visit. It's become the special place I take people who matter.
Ask questions - the servers are friendly and helpful and they genuinely want you to enjoy their food. They will recommend and explain everything. They are attentive but not intrusive. Have some hot tea and relax into a meal that can transcend a bad day in a matter of bites.
Don't be intimidated by this menu. The flavors are really quite familiar, it's the presentation that is different. Try the Kun Mandu - a fried dumpling with beef, onion and glass noodles. The flavors will take you to the beef and noodle dishes popular in midwestern winters, but it's tucked into this tasty little wonton. For further investigation of the glass noodles I can also recommend japchae. It's noodles and veggies in sweet soy. The Kimbap is also a favorite - imagine a salad constructed of raw asian veggies that is served in a maki roll presentation and that would be kimbap. You get what only seems like a huge order until you start eating.
Banchan - it's what makes the experience special. Small dishes of sides like dressed or pickled veggies and kimchee... Which I found foul and off-putting until I tried it at Sobahn. Meant to compliment your bites or cleanse your palate it's exciting to be served so many things to try.
Dol Sots are a great choice for an entree. Served in a scalding stone bowl that's your best friend in the winter months. Spicy seafood fans should really try the kongnamul - squid and bean sprout. The safe choice for my dining companions has been the bibim bap - beef and veggies topped with a fried egg. The beauty of the steaming stone bowl is the aromatic experience followed by the delicious bits of crisped rice. Delicious in every language.
Be adventurous and let the welcoming folks at Sobahn give you a meal you'll crave for more than just the food.
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