San Ho Won [San Francisco, Mission]

I had dinner at San Ho Won back in December last year. San Ho Won is from chefs Jeong-In Hwang and Corey Lee. This is chef Lee’s (formerly chef de cuisine at The French Laundry, currently chef/owner of 3 Michelin * Benu and Monsieur Benjamin in San Francisco, etc.) first Korean restaurant. San Ho Won started up offering takeout and delivery meals and finally opened their dining room in November.

We had the prix fixe House Menu, which on that night was $88 per person, and this is what we ate:

A few banchan to start.

This was a chilled egg custard like dish with a sweet and sour-ish sauce on top.

Some house cabbage kimchi. We got a refill of this one. My dining companion thought it was a little on the salty side. I thought it was quite good.

Some little crispy anchovies and peanuts in a sweet glaze (myeolchi bokkeum - thanks Google).

Savory Egg Soufflé
I believe this is their version of gyeranjjim, a steamed egg dish. This was really good! light and fluffy eggs that I think were flavored with a savory anchovy and kelp broth. The eggs were really fluffy. This came with a sauce to apply on the side - I think more anchovy broth? And also some rock seaweed to add.

Griddled Beef Dumplings
These were a bit like Chinese open-mouth potstickers, with a beef filling. Pretty good, nice wrappers and crispy “skirt”.

Jebi Churi - Prime Beef Neck Fillet
This was smooth like butter, like a criminal undercover (sorry). This was actually smooth like butter though. Very tender and with a lot of gelatinous goodness. I don’t think I’ve ever had this cut before. Great texture. I looked up this cut and it apparently has a lot of tendons in it. Not super beefy however. The BBQ meats at San Ho Won were cooked in the kitchen and served on a grill grate. Had a bit of smokiness too.

House Double-Cut Galbi - Prime Beef Short Rib
One of the better KBBQ short ribs I’ve had. Tender and flavorful.

Assorted Condiments and Lettuces
The meats came with an assortment of greens and herbs - lettuce, perilla leaf, chives, and some other stuff. The meats also came with a scallion salad that had kind of a vinaigrette dressing. Some of the assorted condiments had a little twist to them. From L-R in the first picture, a ssamjang like sauce, jangajji - sweet and salty Korean sauce with jalapeño and garlic, some fusion-y chimichurri scallion sauce(?), and chili oil. Made some lettuce wraps with the vegetables and herbs, meat, and sauces.

The meat courses also came with some nicely grilled mushrooms.

Chicken and Ginseng Jook with Abalone
Abalone Liver Sauce, Chonggak Kimchi

Next, a rice dish. The other option for this course was a bibimbap. This was really great! Jook is a rice porridge, and this one was very flavorful with lots of tender chicken and abalone slices. It came with an abalone liver sauce that was a little sweet and earthy. I think there might have been some sesame paste/tahini in it as well. And also some crunchy radish kimchi on the side.

Soft Serve Ice Cream
There were two choices for dessert and I forget/didn’t write down what the other one was. The one we both chose was a banana milk soft serve, which had a little candy banana and some other crunchy stuff. A nice end to our meal.

A delicious meal with a few fusion-y elements. Everything was well executed.


That all looks and sounds delicious! I think I would have rolled out of there exceedingly happy and feeling it was $88 well spent. Hope you felt that way!


I still remember our takeout meal last last December during the pandemic when they were still cooking at Benu. I don’t recall exactly what kind of ribs - something along the lines of LA style ribs- but it was very very well cooked.

My Korean coworker a few years ago claimed Benu was the best Korean restaurant in the Bay Area. I think he tried just about every good ones around here since he managed Korean clients at work and regularly took visiting Koreans to eat. I don’t think of Benu as Korean, I think San Ho Wan is definitely one of the more refined Korean places around. Definitely not your average Santa Clara Korean bbq spot. :smiley:

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Finally snagged reservations for San Ho Won (a month in advance). I can recommend this for dinner without any reservations (heh). A truly excellent meal. Given the number of dishes we ordered, I’ll just give a few highlights of my experience and (hopefully) let the photos do the rest.

Cold tofu starter was a flavor blast - sweet, sour, savory, salty, and spicy, all at once.
Potato salad definitely tasted different from how I’m used to, but the more I ate, the more I wanted. Free refills on this and the radish cube banchan, paid refills for the others.
Sesame leaf kimchi was a dark horse for most interesting kimchi, with strong umami fermented flavors pushing the normally vegetal notes into the background. Get this.
Jellyfish and cucumber salad had a fun taste from the mustard and a delightful texture.
Grilled rice cakes (not shown) doubled down on the sweet/savory combo and were thick enough to provide contrast between the crispy charred outside and the chewy warm inside. Get this.
Yukhwe was good but maybe lacking in salt.
Beef neck fillet was both super meaty and super soft. Get this.
Kimchi jjigae pozole was an enormous amount of flavor concentrated down into a potent, chunk soup. It marries two dishes I love and manages to improve on both. Get this.

Go here, eat lots, go back.

Cold tofu starter

Radish cube and potato salad banchan

SHW Baechu Kimchi (left) and Sesame Leaf Kimchi (right)

Haepari Muchim - Jellyfish and cucumber salad (back right), Chonggak Kimchi - Ponytail radish (back center), Baek Kimchi - Pear water (cabbage) kimchi (front)

Yukhwe - Korean beef tartare, shredded radish, bugak (crispy seaweed crackers), egg yolk, dressing

Yukhwe - all mixed up

Ssam (perilla leaves, chrysanthemum greens, red and butter lettuce), pachaemuchim (pickled green and red onion salad), ssamjang (bottom left), ??? (bottom right), chili oil (center), pickled onions and jalapenos (rear center)

Rib cartilage kochi (left) and prime beef neck fillet (right)

Rib cartilage kochi close-up

Prime beef neck fillet close-up

Kimchi jjigae pozole with accoutrements

Kimchi jjigae pozole close-up

Acorn chocolate cream puff (left) and banana nutella soft serve (right)