Young Dong Garden is back again, after a long renovation. The changes are quite major: a repaint of the interior and the exterior, a freshening of the interior with higher quality furnishings, installation of televisions, system controlled air conditioning units, and barbeque cooking platforms at the tables, and a refreshed menu. Some say the owner has changed as well, but I can not confirm that; it does seem to be family owned however, with some locals recognizing the owner on our last visit.
(items included in these two pictures include: bean sprouts, pickled cucumber, pickled radish, napa cabbage kimchi, potato salad, and spicy squid slices)
Chewy green onion pancake slices are also provided at the beginning of the meal along with the familiar tangy soy sauce. Unlike the pancakes made before the renovation, these are chewier and lack a crunch; still, they are quite enjoyable.
Another complimentary item is a bowl of salad, which offers plenty of mixed greens and onion slices tossed in a tangy soy sauce dressing. We only got this salad during our first visit, when the restaurant had just opened. On our last visit, however, we did not receive this salad. It seems like the restaurant is only offering this salad to those who order barbequed meat cooked at the table (an all you can eat option is available also).
Our usual order at Young Dong Garden is a combination item; it offers a selection of tofu stew (pick any from their tofu stew section of the menu) and barbequed meat (a smaller version than a full order) or bibimbap (stone or no stone). The tofu stews are high quality, filled with the ingredient requested for the tofu stew (for example, the mushroom tofu stew comes with a variety of mushrooms) as well as soft pieces of tofu.
Other than perhaps being slightly over seasoned to my tastes (especially the chicken), the barbeque items that come alongside are competent options, with a balance between sweet and salty. Full sized plates do cost quite a bit more, but come with a lot of meat: perhaps about two plates worth of these items.
One of our past favorite items was the Kalbi Soup; we ordered it again on our last visit, but somehow it seems like we got the Yookgaejang, a (very) spicy soup that comes with shredded pieces of beef, vegetables, egg, and potato noodles. The spice level was so high that we took most of the soup home so that we could adjust it to our tastes.
The new changes do provide a vast improvement compared to restaurant's past operation. The environment is much more pleasant (other than potential barbeque smells from cooking barbeque at their tables), and the food quality has improved at the same level as the rest of the renovation (for example, we saw the fluffiest steamed egg served on our last visit). For Arcadia, it is welcomed option; in my opinion, the best in Arcadia.
Young Dong Garden Korean BBQ & Tofu
19 W. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Tel: (626) 698-6198
Read my past review of the restaurant by clicking HERE.