UPDATE: Great news! This joint is now open earlier and has an even bigger vegan selection, including a vegan happy hour menu from 6-9 pm! (See below). It did change it’s name to KU Izakaya, so look for a different sign.
Folks! Be honest, did someone know about the 52nd Tofu House (now KU Izakaya) and not tell me? Who among you was aware we could get cheap, delicious vegan Korean food in Seattle and didn’t come forward? I’m on the look out for you. It is probably best that you don’t ‘fess up to this transgression, you don’t know how I might react to being kept away from sweet and spicy potatoes my entire life.
As y’all know, I volunteer at Sidecar once a week, usually on Sundays, and for the past 5 weeks I’ve passed an apple-shaped sign on the corner of University Way and 52nd Street that says “Korean Tofu Soup.” I kept telling myself to stop to find out what else was in the soup on the very slight chance that it was vegan/vegetarian.
Finally last week while running errands, KC and ended up parking near the afore mentioned sign, so took a few seconds to have a look. What did we find? More signs! Including one that says “Vegan Plate $6.95″!! What?? How did I miss this just 3 blocks from two vegan establishments that I frequent? Is my vegan-radar on the fritz?
Venturing inside we found 1 vegan co-owner, two separate menus (one for the carni folk and one for us vegan folk), and a note about how the vegan food is prepared using separate cookware.
Not only did we find these things, but we also found VERY good food. Good food that is affordable. I had the Vegan Plate, option B, for only $6.96. This feast came with a giant pile of rice, pajeon (Korean-style pancake packed with vegetables), a sweet pickled cabbage salad, and a generous portion of gamja jorim (sweet and spicy potatoes). Amazing! I think I’ll have it for lunch again today.
KC ordered the Gyoza + Kimchi + Tofu soup, which was also only $6.95. It came out to him like a bubbling pool of lava, packed with soft tofu. He said it was savory, had a good kind of heat, and really interesting flavors – like the sour from the kimchi. It also came with rice, cabbage salad, and the gamja jorim. He liked it very much. If that wasn’t enough, they served us free roasted corn tea, and when we were done with our meal, they brought us homemade sweet picked cucumber and some sort of pickled root vegetable. I was in complete heaven.
And the KU Izakaya has updated 52nd Tofu decor, which I loved for being humble and kind of crazy. Albums tacked to the wall above the kitchen and dried corn husks in the dining area. Yep. Oh, and a giant poster of Gary “The Glove” Payton, scoring on a young Kobe Bryant and Horace Grant graced the south wall (which made KC really happy). The new decor is much cleaner and will be more inviting to the average diner. They still have mango soju slurpee-like drink flowing, although I wasn’t adventurous enough to try it. Yet.
New Menus (As poorly photographed through the window. Inside is too dark for photos).