타누키 돈부리 (강남CGV점) (Tanuki Donburi)
Reviewed by Aaron Namba on May 4, 2011 / Updated August 21, 2011
Update 2011-07-10: The original location (강남본점) has closed, so I have updated the review to refer to the newer location in the CGV building. I'll replace the main photo as soon as we can.
Donburi is, for me, the perfect lunch: hot, fresh, fast, and generally pretty cheap. It comes in so many varieties, you're bound to enjoy at least one of them. What's not to like?
Tanuki Donburi is a chain, although each of its locations is pretty tiny. So far I've encountered three, two in Gangnam and one at COEX. While we used to go to the original Gangnam location (near Espresso Public) that location is now closed. We now go to the one in the CGV building, on the back (uphill) side.
We ordered our usual: karaage-don (7000원) for me, ten-don (9000원) for Annie.
Self-serve kimchi at the table
Each tiny table has its own kimchi and pickled daikon (radish), and a bottle of water.
Complimentary (but very light) miso soup
Most of the time, as soon as you are seated, small bowls of a light miso soup are served. The soup also contains a bit of green onion and a few pieces of aburage (deep fried tofu).
Chicken Karaage-don (7000원)
The food generally comes out within a few minutes of ordering. The chicken karaage is juicy and flavorful, although this style doesn't feature a crispy outer skin. An egg is broken over it shortly before serving, and usually it isn't quite cooked by the time it comes out. Personally, I would prefer the egg to be cooked a little more, but I suppose the slightly-raw egg is typical for most donburi and ramen.
Ten-don (short for tempura-don, 9000원)
Annie's ten-don is always presented perfectly, with two shrimp tempura, two sweet potato tempura, one eggplant tempura and one Korean summer pepper tempura. The batter is light and crispy and the tempura are all perfectly cooked. The shrimp is good, but actually, the highlights for her is the Korean pepper (formerly, the eggplant tempura, but sadly that is no longer included in this dish).
Annie never used to be a fan of deep-fried food, but she says Tanuki Donburi is the first place that made her actually crave tempura.
Typically, with either of our dishes, they don't include a lot of rice (after all, the topping is the star of the show), but you can always ask for more rice, sauce and miso soup.
Expect to wait if you arrive during lunch hour. Although we consider this to be a lunch-y sort of place, I've seen very long lines at the COEX location at opening time for dinner (from 5pm).
- Taste: 5/5 - Consistently high quality, over dozens of visit.
- Atmosphere: 4/5 - small izakaya feel. You are greeted loudly by the staff as you enter and exit.
- Service: 3/5 - A little hit-or-miss: sometimes you get an attentive server, sometimes it's a struggle to get attention.