Earlier this week I wrote about 678, the Duluth Korean barbecue restaurant that serves up both beef and pork in a room decorated with a K-pop sensibility. Now it’s time to move on to a much homier Korean place — that is, if you can find it.
Yet Tuh must be the most hidden restaurant on Buford Highway. If this blog post encourages you to look for it — and I sincerely hope it does — you must find the driveway to the semi-empty retail center that houses it, descend a hill and keep driving around the building clockwise until you find Yet Tuh (if not Jimmy Hoffa) hidden in the back.
For months now both Brad Kaplan at Creative Loafing and Bill Addison at Atlanta Magazine have been talking up this restaurant.
though I’m late to the party, I share their enthusiasm. I imagine Yet Tuh serves the kinds of dishes that make Koreans say, “No one makes this as well as my mom. But this is close.”
The restaurant does serve a few barbecue dishes, but that’s really something you want to order at 678 or one of the scores of other places that have the table cooktops. Here you want broiled fish, soups, stir-fries and other specialties of the house. The pork-and-kimchi stir fry is a revelation. Fatty slips of pork have a photo-filter mellowing effect on the sharp, salty tang of fermented cabbage, transforming it into a new flavor. It’s like a perfectly made salade frisée aux lardons; every drop of fat goes to good use. The warmed tofu tiles around the plate soothe and ground the dish; you need them to keep it from going beyond the porky pale.
I requested bin dae duk — crisp bean-batter pancakes. The waitress brought this gourmet version, reddened with kimchi and holding threads of pickled fern stem.
The banchan here — all those little dishes that accessorize Korean meals like baubles on a Buckhead Betty — are better than any I’ve seen elsewhere in town. Look, there’s spicy eggplant, pak choy kimchee, seaweed crisps, and mysterious green pancakes along with the usual suspects.
Thanks to the story in Creative Loafing, Yet Tuh has become famous for its bori bap, a mixture of barley and rice into which you add warm, marinated vegetables and chile-stewed vegetables for a meal that treats your body right. The crock of white soup in the bottom right is called kong biji, or tofu dregs that are prized for their health benefits. This is the good-for-you repast.
I couldn’t leave without trying this restaurant’s version of omuraisu, or omelette rice. This dish originated in Japan’s coffeehouse culture, where it is considered “Western,” i.e., European-inspired cooking. In Japan, short grain rice is stir fried with ketchup and then mounded inside a paper-thin sheet of egg omelette.
– by John Kessler for the Food & More blog