A Bo Ssäm feast at Namu Gaji, SF

by foodhoe on October 8, 2012

499 Dolores St. San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415.431.6268 | website |

I immediately signed up when Tasting Table sent out an email offering an evening at Namu Gaji featuring a feast of Bo Ssäm and Oysters with Belgian Beer.  I’m glad that I did as the event sold out rather quickly!  I recently discovered the joys of Bo säm, which you can read about here and a more elaborate version here.  Bo Ssäm is a specialized meal of roasted meats that are wrapped up in leaves of lettuce along with fresh and pickled vegetables and spicy condiments.   It is not generally available at many restaurants (unless you can read the special Korean menu) so I was thrilled to learn that Namu has expanded their menu to include this dish.

Namu Chef/owner Dennis Lee engages the diners

Tasting Table is an online website that is dedicated to food culture.  They also have a free local daily feed email which is how I heard about the Bo Ssäm dinner at Namu.  Fortuitously the October Monthly issue features the rich flavors of Korean cuisine and spotlights 4 groundbreaking Korean-American chefs, including chef Dennis Lee of Namu.

Chef Lee in the kitchen

The evening’s sponsor was Belgium beer Stella Artois, who provided an endless supply of icy cold beer to cool off with since it was an unsually balmy night in the city.  A super excellent idea that greatly enhanced the evening!

We began with three oysters each (an unremembered variety from Washington state) served with ponzu (a classic Japanese mixture of soy and vinegar), wasabi and spicy chogochujang sauce.  I loved the flavors of the chili sauce and wasabi, but they kind of overpowered the sweet fresh flavors of the delicate bivalves.

The Stonepot Rice was comprised of local seasonal vegetable baanchan from the namu farm and beyobnd, served over a blend of wild and Massa organic brown rice, fried egg, gochujang sauce.

Each bite offered excellent texture and flavors.  The wild and brown rice were dense and chewy with lightly crisped bits from the stone pot, full of a luxurious tangle of mushrooms and vegetables and since we poured the entire contents of the gochujang sauce in, it was Spicy!

Our servers dropped off bowls of darkly mysterious and spicy ssamjang sauce (a mixture of fermented bean paste with chili paste), and a bowl of housemade kimchee.

And finally we received our Bo Ssäm, platters piled with juicy chicken, crispy pork belly and succulent velvety black cod that had been roasted in local apricot and fig wood.  It was a fun dish to share with our neighbors, we compared favorite combinations which provided camraderie and inspiration, and all that beer…

The vegetable platter included blanched napa cabbage, a few tiny heads of lettuce, carrot and celery sticks, a mound of fabulous pickled shiso leaf, pickled beans and crisp radish slices.  I especially loved the flavor combination of the cod with the pickled shiso…

We couldn’t stop noshing from the platters so when the bowls of rich Kabocha pumpkin and pinenut custard served with shortbread cookies were delivered, I’m afraid that they did not get the attention they deserved…

It was a pretty epic meal.  We had a grand time, excellent food, endless beers, great company and 10% of the ticket sales went to CUESA, a very worthy cause.  It was such an unusually gorgeous night to be out in the City, something we haven’t enjoyed in quite a while.

Previous posts about Namu:

Dinner May/2012
Brunch November/2011
Ferry Bldg Booth July/2009
Foodbuzz bash November/2009
Dinner April/2008

 

Namu Gaji on Urbanspoon

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