Friends’ House Korean

friends4647 Convoy St., yelp reviews

Friends’ House is a smallish Korean place with semi-private plywood booths and a friendly atmosphere.  I’d eaten here many times and never gotten anything other than the bibim bap (burnt rice in a stone pot with veggies, beef, and an egg) and soon dubu (stew with pickled cabbage), so it was a treat to stretch out a bit from my usuals and compare them to the many other Korean joints the Recon has visited.

The usuals still stand on their own, though they don’t particularly stand out.  The banchan (various little mostly veggie side dishes) are good here, particularly favorites like the potatoes and the spongy strips of some kind of reconstituted fish paste.  I’m very attached to the way rice burns to the bottom and sides of the stone pot here at Friends’ – it becomes yummy and nubbly, particularly when a little bit of the egg fries in there too.

In keeping with the Recon mission statement (which, admittedly, exists only in my mind), we tried a number of new things.  Korean blood sausage – smoky and moist, though still a little stomach-turning -, fried rice, and a heaping dish of those very thin transparent rice noodles with chicken and other bits.  Pride of place went to the seafood pancake – a large crispy omelette of sprouts and various crustaceans – greasy and fairly tasty, but still needing a generous squirting of sriracha to wake it all the way up.

How does Friends’ House rank among the fifteen or so Korean places we’ve hit so far?  I don’t know – top third maybe?  I like it, but I’m not sure there’s any there there, as the book lady said; at least, not in any objective sense.  The more I reflect on eating, the more I sense that taste and memory are sides of a single coin.  I have a five-year-old memory of pulling into this place at a wintery ten p.m. on my famished way from school, leaning over a hot stone pot, feeling the egg-y, rice-y heat radiate up into my face and dispel a little of that cold night.  What ranking system would dare discourage my gratitude?

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