While the somewhat shabby, windowless brick building on the corner of Telegraph and MacArthur doesn't look too inviting on the outside, don't be fooled by its plain exterior. Seoul Gomtang lives up to its name and offers a delectable variety of soups and other dishes, including its namesake. Gom tang is a rich, milky white broth made by gently simmering meat and bones for hours. While the restaurant seems to cater to a primarily Korean clientele, the servers speak English and the menus are bilingual -- though look for the one with images if you're having trouble deciphering what to order. Gori gom tang is described as a "thick broth of thoroughly cooked ox tail" (for images, visit their listing on Yelp as I neglected to take a photo.) Add scallions and sea salt (canisters of both will already be on your table) to flavor the simple soup filled with chunks of oxtail on the bone. For a cool soup on a hot day, Mul naengmyeon is a fine choice. Described as "cold noodle with beef" on the menu, buckwheat noodles swim in a tangy broth garnished with boiled egg, pickled cucumbers and radish as well as shredded beef. Use the mustard and vinegar condiments if you'd like to spice up your soup, and if you find the noodles too long and unwieldy, don't hesitate to use the scissors your server gives to you beforehand. While the banchan consists of just three kinds of kimchi -- cucumber, cabbage and radish -- they're all you need to accompany your meal and refills are available upon request. Two tasty side dishes are the plump jin mandoo, or steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and tofu, and hae mool pajun, an oversized fried pancake packed with peppers, green onions, oysters and squid. Limited parking is available behind the restaurant.
3801 Telegraph Ave. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 597-9989
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm; Sat-Sun 7am-11pm
Price range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)