Soban report

As part of my ongoing efforts to try restaurants on J. Gold’s list of 101 restaurants, I had lunch at Soban, a Korean restaurant on Olympic in K-Town. I thought it was great, though it has inspired the wrath of quite a few Yelpers for some reason.

The dish they are most famous for is a whole raw blue crab in a soy sauce sauce. This dish has the peculiar name “ganjang-gejang.” I thought it was fabulously good. The raw blue crab was creamy, sweet, and delicious. It was big and had lots of oozing meat to suck from the claws. The soy sauce sauce was delicious too. It was slightly sweet and tasted umami-ish, like mirin. There were also wilted green onions and roasted garlic. Great dish!

I also had the broiled atka mackerel (first time I’ve heard of this fish). It was simple but good. Crispy skin. Rich, brown, flaky meat.

The mackerel came with a soybean paste stew. I don’t have any love for Korean stews, and this one didn’t win my affection. It looked like a good effort, but I’m not sure what the goal is or why they eat this stuff. (Secret: I don’t think kimchi is that great either.)

The restaurant several 12 (twelve) complementary panchan dishes. I loved these overall. It’s the best panchan spread I’ve ever had.

I really enjoyed this restaurant and look forward to returning.


We were there in June (?). They were out of the crab when we went but we still enjoyed two types of broiled mackeral offered that night. Never had atka before - while my wife and I liked it, our kids really enjoyed it because it wasn’t fishy to them as they had expected.

That crab sounds really fucking dope.

Do you suggest calling in advance Or ???

Who’s the chef there ???

Do they happen to take fucking credit cards or is it cheap enough to dole out those dollar dollar bills ???

Is it particularly messy ???

roughly how much did this cost?
the whole meal you described sounds appealing to me, even the soypaste stew.
are they open for lunch?
these days i am aspiring to be one of those “ladies who lunch.”


No galbi jjim? I thought that was the signature dish? haha

I do need to go to this place eventually.

According to yelp - it’s pricey. $35 for the raw crab (some day you just get one) but you do get all the side dishes.

Yes they are open for lunch.

And yes Sir Kevin, they take credit cards : )

Soban is expensive, but probably the best restaurant in K town. When I want to go all out, a friend and I will usually get 1 crab, 1 galbi jim (the best one in town), and 1 spicy cod. That meal for two is in the 120 range, but is way too much food. If you got the crab and the cod, you’re probably looking at 60 + tax and tip.

“ladies who lunch” ??? hahahaha. really ???

what does that mean these days ???

i’m fucking down for that blue crab number and that’s for damn sure.

Is galbi gim kind of like galub jammin or ???


does anyone happen to have a fucking addy for this joint ???

or a yelp link just for the pictures of course, right ???

thanks guys.

and that ain’t no fucking joke.

If it’s just ganjang-gejang, then my preferred location in K-Town is probably Chunju Han-il Kwan.

This was my first time at Soban and my first time eating this crab, so I don’t purport to have any special knowledge. The crab is easy to eat once you realize that you’re supposed to pick up the claws, which are chopped so the meat is exposed, and suck out the meat (after dipping it in sauce). And for the innards you use a spoon.

I didn’t call in advance. I just went there and ordered it, and so did the lady next to me.

A similar raw blue crab dish is offered by Ruen Pair and other Thai places. I have discovered I love raw blue crab.

this blue crabs sounds just about right.

and perhaps they have bread to spread the highly prized and regarded and esteemed crab innards upon ???

that would be beyond salutary and salubrious if i say so myself.

thanks man.

Yes, I went for lunch. It was about $65 with tip. I thought that was reasonable for the amount and quality of the food.

I think you’re supposed to mix it with rice.

Oh yeah?

Then you should get yourself to The Good Karma Cafe, adjacent to USC.

Vegan, vegetarian fare, prepared pursuant to Vaishnava Hinduism.

$10. AYCE.

And it’s BYOT … as in Bring Your Own Tupperware to bring some more home. No joke.

Open only Tue and Wed, 12-2 pm.

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solo lunch for 65 bucks ???

that’s pretty fucking pricey

but if it’s a whole 2 pound or more crab plus the requisite cornucopia of banchan that’s not a bad deal ???

That place still operating eh? Solid place for sure. But is it really a place for “ladies who lunch”? Or maybe I am missing the meaning of the phrase?

Can one still be of the male gender these days and still be considered one of the “ladies who lunch” ???

Does that entail a term of art or state of the art ???

Or a mere neologism for modern times if you will per-fucking-chance ???

Does this not sound like a phrase that demands even deeper further scientific inquiry of the phenemoligcal sort ???

Good to know - thank you!