To complete our quest to find good Korean food in the Phoenix area, my friends have kept on raving about a place called Chodang. This little place is located in a kind of run-down area in the gray area between Mesa and Chandler.
As always, we like to go hard here so we ordered a bunch of stuff. We had our individual dishes and then ordered two orders of delicious Korean BBQ meat such as Bulgogi and short ribs
Like all Korean restaurants, Banchan is a complementary assortment of dishes served in these small little plates like appetizers.
Chodang has a standard 6 banchan presented towards us. They’re nothing special, but they’re not bad
Dried Seaweed – found like in the supermarkets, these are great to snack on and I’m sure if you were creative, you could add it to flavor your dish
Kimchi – very standard kimchi. Nothing stood out.
Pickled radish – cut in strips and then brined in kimchi juice. It’s pretty much kimchi with a different texture.
Potatoes – A bit mushy and ugly looking. The flavor is decent with soy sauce but I didn’t pay too much attention based on the appearance.
Bean Sprouts – light and refreshing
Apple Salad – probably the best out of the 6. Strangely unique, the sweetness of the apple and the creaminess of the mayonnaise was a nice refreshing review of the heavy meal.
Dumpling Soup with egg and rice cake
I ordered this dish because a friend told me to and it was alright. The opaque soup had dumplings and thin rice cakes swirling around along with the egg scrambled and added in. The dumplings had a pork-onion filling in the middle and tasted like a thinner version of a wonton. I found the rice cakes chewy, but I wished they were bigger and the egg helped give the soup body. The flavor of the soup tasted like a standard egg drop soup with a little more ommpf.
Overall, I should have ordered the grilled stuff. It looked way more appetizing.
It was a pretty good chunk of meat. As I’ve explained in the past, a lot of people get bulgogi wrong when it gets “too wet”. This meat was ok, nothing to rave about really.
I love it when the short ribs have black, peppery specs and a garnish of green onion. It really brings out the sexiness of the dish. In most situations, the look of the food has an effect on the taste and I found this particular short rib entrée delicious.
Didn’t try it but I’ve noticed that the color is a lot lighter than the reddish looking ones I’ve had in previous restaurants. What’s really cool here is that they plop an egg right in front of you.
As you can tell in the picture, the egg sits between the sesame seed layer and the hot rice. To eat this dish, you are to mix up everything together and then eat it. Ive seen bigger served Bibimbap in other restaurants but this one was pretty good.
Chodang reminds me of several Korean restaurants I’ve been to in California and it is honestly the first Korean restaurant that gives the “ambiance” of a white room. Though Hodori’s white interior is roughly similar, Chondang having no windows makes the place feel a bit more intimate and secretive. I’m not saying Hodori’s open atmosphere is a bad thing, it’s different.
Chodang is also layed out a bit cramped but it’s kind of cool. The long hallway that you have to take to get to your table is pretty neat.
Chodang’s service is amazingly fast and I praise the waiters for being easy to work with. Not only do they like to get your orders fast, but they like to get your checks out pretty fast too.
A single meal will range to about $10 to $20 dollars. Soup will be cheaper than a plate of meat. For a group of 8, we split the meat which ended up being $5.00 extra on our tab.
Chodang;s menu is decently compact and it doesn’t have as many options as the other Korean places I;ve gone to. Needless to say, they have the essentials. I find that them having dumplings is also very unique compared to the other Korean restaurants. That, or I skimmed over the dumplings at other places. Sometimes, just having a simple 2 sided menu is enough to get what you want. Too many options can lead to some problems.
I think Chodang’s a pretty good Korean restaurant if you want good food, great service and you’re near the area. Some people swear by it as the best Korean restaurant in the Valley but there are plenty more to try like this one, this one, and this one.