Cheap Eats 2011: Vit Goel ToFu (Lighthouse Tofu) – Annandale

It’s a dizzying scene at these two tofu-focused restaurants, where the wallpaper recalls a Korean newspaper and servers scurry around with bubbling cauldrons of a soup known as soondubu. Anchored by a vivid red-pepper broth and soft, almost melting blocks of tofu, the hot liquid can be dressed in a variety of ways: with oysters, beef, vegetables, or a raw egg (wait a minute or so until the soup cools a little before you drop it in), all meant to thicken the broth. There are five spice levels for the soondubu–medium is about right for the average diner.

While the soondubu is the star of the menu, there are other gems. The selection of pa jun–egg-and-scallion pancakes with seafood, kimchee, or vegetables–make for good additions to the table.

A big perk to a meal here: It’s as healthy as spa food but more satisfying.

Also good: Fried dumplings; bulgogi, thin-sliced beef in a soy marinade.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.