New Korean Soft Tofu Restaurant Opens Near UC Irvine

Koba Tofu Grill–Irvine's tenth or eleventh (I've lost count) Korean restaurant to serve sundubu jjigae, gurgling cauldrons of soft tofu soup–opens this week in Campus Plaza near UC Irvine in what used to be Blockbuster Video.

If it seems serendipitous that their debut coincides with the coldest, wettest period our area has seen in recent memory, it is. I can't think of a better dish to slurp during rainy weather than sundubu jjigae, and I can't think of a better week to have it.

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The early online reviews are favorable, but more importantly, there's plenty of that soupy, custard-y balm to warm you to your bones. Of course, as I mentioned, there is no shortage of general purpose Korean restaurants and soft tofu specialists in Irvine who serve it. Irvine has possibly the highest concentration of places to eat sundubu than any OC city save for Garden Grove. There's even another restaurant called Koba in Culver Plaza, whose affiliation to this newcomer is unclear.

But this one is especially close for those who are car-less dorm-dwellers at UCI. It is the first soft tofu purveyor to exist within walking distance from class. So slurp on, Anteaters, slurp on.

And when your body temp has risen up to normal, cool it down again with one of the best ice creams: Strickland's is in the same plaza.

4501 Campus Drive, Irvine, (949) 725-0516.

Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.

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