Comedian and San Francisco native Margaret Cho first tipped us off to the delights of New Korea House, which for us had always been an overlooked restaurant in the midst of all of the Japan Center restaurants (it's located across the street).
Besides, obviously, trusting Cho because she is Korean, the decision to check it out was sealed when she praised the restaurant for being well-rounded instead of excelling in only one dish. Most Korean places, she said, tended to be known for just one specialty.
The truth is, we haven't been able to order past the Dolsot Bibim Bap to find out if she's right; it's too addicting. Perhaps it's the most well-known of all Westernized Korean dishes for a reason; the simplicity of a rice bowl with vegetables and protein cooked in a stone bowl that allows the rice to crisp up at the bottom is universally appealing. The default version contains beef and a raw egg, which you mix in with the seaweed, zucchini, mushrooms, and rice.
As with all main course orders here, an impressive nine different banchan (small appetizers) arrive at the table, including housemade kimchi, tofu, pickled zucchini, and mung bean sprouts. It's easy to start filling up before the main event.
We are professional grazers, but this is a dish that inspires joining the clean plate (er, bowl) club. It is also available in vegetarian and seafood versions for the meat and raw egg averse.