BN Chicken is a 10-month-old broom closet of a restaurant on El Camino Real’s Korean restaurant row. As best I could understand it, B and N are the initials for the Korean word for son-in-law.

In Korea, I learned, mothers love their sons-in-law a great deal. So much do they dote on the men who marry their daughters that they are forever treated liked honored guests whenever they show up. And that means these sons-in-law eat very well. So the name BN references the kind of motherly attention sons-in-law get when they come over to eat.

BN Chicken is part of a laudable trend I see at El Camino Real Korean restaurants. The trend is specialization. There are still plenty of Korean barbecue restaurants that serve encyclopedic menus of all things Korean, but far more interesting are the places that drill down into subsets of Korean cuisine like sushi, congee, soondobu and soups.

BN Chicken is all about soup, and what’s homier, more mother-in-lawly, than a big bowl of soup? One of the specialties of the house is dakdoritang. It’s touted as a hangover cure—a special kind of hangover cure that drove me to drink. But then dakdoritang is a special kind of soup.

First, the soup goes for $25.99, but it’s meant to be shared, so don’t sweat the price. Three could share a bowl and be satisfied. Sharing a hangover soup strikes me as the right thing to do. Misery loves company, and unless you have a real drinking problem and drank to excess all by yourself, it’s good to commiserate with your drinking buddies over a bowl of soup.

One word of caution: When the women at BN Chicken ask you if you want mild or spicy, order mild if you want to live, or even breathe, again. I have a higher tolerance for spicy food than any one I know, but the women behind the counter just smiled as I gasped and cried in chile-paste pain.

That’s why it drove me to drink. A cold beer was like medicine—medically necessary. I ordered my soup medium spicy, and it was like a bowl of hot lava. But it was so good, I kept on eating through the pain, even after I splashed some into my right eye. I’ll wear protective goggles next time.

I thought the guy next to me was crying, but it turns out he was just sweating profusely as he ate his soup. Maybe the women in the kitchen were messing with us just to watch us sweat. I didn’t happen to be hungover at the time I ate the soup, but if I had been, I’m sure the soup would have exorcised whatever alcohol demons that remained in my system. So trust me: Order it mild.

Serving the dakdoritang is quite a presentation. The soup takes about 20 minutes, because it’s all made from scratch. Before the soup come two cold earthenware crocks that hold pickled turnips and kimchi. These are spicy, but as mild as bathwater compared to the soup.

Then comes a hot plate upon which a hulking pot of soup is deposited. The soup includes bony hunks of chicken, potatoes, green onions, carrots, bell peppers and sweet-potato noodles. What makes the soup so flavorful is the generous addition of sesame paste. Even through the fire and brimstone of the chile paste, the rich and nutty flavor of the sesame paste shone through.

The other specialty is samgyetang ($15.99), a nourishing ginseng soup that includes an entire chicken, whole ginseng roots, red dates and chestnuts.  How’s that for wholesome?

At the other end of the spectrum is the excellent kimchi marikooksu ($9.99), an icy kimchi and noodle soup that I like even better than my other favorite cold Korean noodle soup, nyaeng myuen. The cold kimchi soup includes kimchi, of course, but it’s also made with wheat-flour noodles, matchstick-thin slices of carrots, sliced turnips, thinly sliced beef and a hardboiled egg. The best part is the red-tinted, electrically briny and tart broth. It’s wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

In addition to soups, BN Chicken is the place for good Korean-style fried chicken. Korean fried chicken wears a thin, but crispy crust that’s lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. That’s it—no 11 herbs and spices. It’s not hard to best KFC, but the fried chicken at BN Chicken excels because of its simplicity.

The wings special ($9.99) comes with an unremarkable salad and a little ranch dressing on the side. Maybe it’s a short trip from the fryer to the dining room or the thin crust has secret insulating powers, but the fried chicken is ridiculously hot, too. Going from the chicken to the icy soup made my teeth hurt. I had to warm up my mouth with tea before I could enjoy more chicken.

Now that I think about it, maybe BN Chicken isn’t all about mother-in-law love and hugs. It’s more of a tough love thing that makes you stronger. Are you tough enough?