Bibimbap Bohemia – Stone Bowl House

Bibimbap is one of Korea’s signature dishes and literally means “mixed meal” or “mixed rice”. It’s served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed veggies and gochujang, which is a medium chili pepper paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat are usually added to the dish. At Stone Bowl House on Buford Highway they have a version called dolsot where the bibimbap is served in super-hot stone bowl that literally cooks the rice and keeps all the ingredients warm for over an hour! Their most popular one is with the spicy kimchi pork, and it does not disappoint! However, they do not already come with the gochujang so you have to request it. All of the ingredients are stirred together, as demonstrated by our lovely server, and then the eating can begin! One word of caution; the contents of the bowl are ridiculously hot and the ingredients literally sizzle when they touch the side of the bowl. It reminds me of the sound when fajitas come out at a Mexican joint.

Dolsot bibimbap; their version comes with a runny fried egg!
There’s also no need to order any appetizers, as each order comes with about 6 – 7 small sharing plates to accompany the dolsot; they can either be added or eaten on their own, but they’re definitely meant to be shared. They ranged from Napa cabbage kimchi, to fermented beans to a cold Korean potato salad.

Accompaniments - like mini Korean tapas!

Some of my favorites were the sesame potatoes that were roasted in a sweet sesame paste, the Napa cabbabge kimchi and the cucumber kimchi.

Sesame potatoes - full of starchy goodness

Napa kimchee; very light and refreshing while packing a ton of flavor

These were my favorite and acted as great palate cleanser; great spice balanced out by the light coolness of the cucumber meat

The other interesting thing about the dolsot version is the effect the bowl has on the rice at the bottom. If you leave a small layer (i.e. don’t mix it all) it cooks down like hash browns and gets this great crisp; I really wanted to ask for ketchup, but feared I would be asked to leave…

Korean hash browns - maybe ask for sriracha instead!

As mentioned above, there was plenty of food but I couldn’t resist ordering one more dish, especially when it came with little Korean pancakes and eight different fillings! The gujeolpan is Korea’s version of mix and match tacos, only with much different ingredients. The name literally means a plate with nine sections…those Koreans are so literal!

Gujeolpan - a kaleidoscope of colors and textures

This version came with bulkogi, egg whites, crab, mushrooms, red peppers, egg yolks, a broccoli rabe-tasting green and jellyfish…yes jelly fish. Most of the ingredients were pretty basic, but the jelly fish was pickled, quite tender and besides the beef was my favorite. Each pancake is stuffed with your ingredients of choice topped off with a really good sesame, ginger, wasabi sauce and eaten like a taco.

Real Korean taco!

To be honest, at $20 this dish was a little bit of a letdown; sure the bulkogi was good and the jellyfish was interesting, but aside from that this reminded me of an overpriced veggie tray. I would have liked to see more proteins and more cooked items instead of garnish. Overall this place is pretty solid and the service is the best I have experienced on Buford Highway; the servers are personable, crack jokes and can answer any questions about the menu. They are not only adept at handling gringos, they welcome the experience and have a good time with it. Their bibimbap is some of the best I’ve had and I definitely prefer the dolsot version. It’s hard to spot from the road as it’s in the back of the shopping center, so be sure to use a GPS device or get detailed directions.

Shot of the front so you know you're in the right place

 

Woo Nam Jeong - Stone Bowl House on Urbanspoon

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