2036 S. Academy Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
On Monday I was driving back from Albuquerque to Denver and craved something to eat for dinner. While I could have waited it out until I got back to Denver around 9PM, I decided to stop in a city I live so close to, but rarely visit: Colorado Springs.
I don’t know anything about the Asian food scene in Colorado Springs, so I called a good friend of mine to find a decent place for more to eat. After 10 minutes of fruitlessly searching for a decent Chinese restaurant, he directed me to Tong Tong which seemed like a good and authentic Korean restaurant. I exited I-25 and went north a couple miles on Academy, arriving at Tong Tong, which is located in an aging strip mall with Big Lots as its biggest draw.
Entering Tong Tong I was greeted warmly and ushered into a booth, the smallest table I could be seated in given the hustle and bustle of the restaurant at the time. I ordered the soondubu and fried mandu, two relatively inexpensive menu items I ate before, giving me a good baseline to judge against Korean restaurants I have eaten in Los Angeles and San Diego.
The food was good, but not steller. The mandu was decently fried, but the filling was relatively bland. The soondubu had decent flavor, but did not have much seafood in it. They also cooked the egg directly in the stew, which I found a little odd given my experience cracking the egg myself into the stew if I wanted. I loved their selection of banchan, some of which were standard (kimchi), but others that seemed unique and interesting (fried peppers and fish balls). The cinnamon tea at the end, however, was excellent.
Going into service, it was a bit haphazard. The wait staff certainly tried, given that they only had three wait staff for a relatively packed restaurant. However, little things I expected at a Korean restaurant, like banchan being served immediated, were lacking. The banchan arrived at my table well after my mandu. Filling water also took a while, and I was not the only table that wanted a quicker refill. They did try to move as fast as they could, but clearly they could add wait staff.
All in all, the food was decent, especially given my low expectations in Colorado Springs, but the experience was only so-so. It would be a great place for residents in Colorado Springs to discover Korean food, but it certainly isn’t up to the quality of Koreatown or Garden Grove.