Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jong Ga BBQ Korean Restaurant


Jong Ga BBQ is the new replacement of Corean Palace, which was a Jang Mo Jib chain restaurant. Corean Palace was my favourite Jang Mo Jib location because the employees actually provided service, until the owner and his son started working there (which then became like every other service-less JMJ chain).

When entering the restaurant, the owner greeted us and was very friendly. In addition, the restaurant has a very cheerful and upbeat vibe. At first, I was not sure why until I realized it is because the Virgin Radio station was blasted. The loud music made me feel like I was at Cactus Club and I thought it was kind of inappropriate because Jong Ga seems more like a family restaurant, not a social drinking club. As for the interior, when comparing Jong Ga to the previous restaurant, I do not notice many changes except for the new addition of photos of Korean cuisine on the wall.

I have mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of Korean cuisine, other than for the BBQ meat. So, since I have been sick and cannot eat much, I decided to take advantage of that and take BF out for Korean food (since he likes pork neck soup). Plus, I love BBQ meat. Unfortunately though, the menu states in Korean and simplified Chinese that there is a minimum requirement of two BBQ meat dishes. Okay no problem, we can order two different kinds. Nope, it has to be two kinds of the same order. 

Whaaat? The two of us cannot eat four strips of the same kind of galbi and I do not support stupid concepts. Well, we could eat four strips... but I would like to try a couple to see if I like them enough to order more. Furthermore, there is a difference between paying a premium price and paying for a minimum requirement, especially for a dish that can do without a minimum order. This totally sucks for people eating alone or for two, and this is coming from a carnivore. I really really wanted to try the galbi but I cannot support dumb concepts. Also, I believe this is the only Korean restaurant that does this? If the owner let us order two different kinds of galbi, one with a marinade and the other without, we would have probably caved and tried the two different short ribs to compare.

From my experiences, usually less busier Korean restaurants bring side dishes with your meal rather than before. My theory is that restaurants would like to save as much as they can and when tables finish their side dishes, they need to be refilled. However, busier restaurants bring side dishes as soon as possible because they can afford to. After starving and waiting twenty five minutes, our meal as well as the side dishes finally came. To start, the kimchi has too much vinegar and tastes more sour than spicy; following, the bean sprouts with slices of imitation crab meat has a nice sesame oil and peppery flavour; next, the zucchini has a hint of spiciness and tastes more spicy than the kimchi, further on, the fish cakes have a barely there sweet and salty flavour, and last, the rice tastes a bit starchy than usual because it is the short grain rice.

The gamjatang consists of pork bones, onion, green onion and potato. In addition, the broth tastes mildly spicy and somewhat rich, but only average. Although unfortunately, the pot is so shallow that the ingredients cannot be properly mixed and the pork bones are only half braised.

I think the tofu soup is included with an order of gamjatang or perhaps is a part of the banchan? The soup has a light tofu kimchi flavour and the broth is not really rich, but does taste clear.

The soup tastes rich as well as clear, but needs some salt to bring out the oxtail flavour. If someone was to try the soup for the first time, they would consider it bland with the taste of natural oil, not very pleasant. Furthermore, I would have asked for salt but none of the staff was around which is kind of odd considering the restaurant was not busy at all. Also, most Korean restaurants give customers the option of adding salt with oxtail soup, so I find it odd they did not provide salt to begin with. Anyway, the dates taste hard and should have been cooked longer. Furthermore, there are two small cuts of oxtail which taste chewy (but not that bad). The oxtail meat taste like it has been cooked for longer than an hour and I do not expect the restaurant to cook the soup for five sours (although that would be nice)

The beef ribs taste very chewy and not braised at all, more like cooked on a high fast boil. In addition, the sauce tastes a bit too sweet. Asides from the ribs, there are mushrooms, green onions and rice cakes. Usually I am not a fan of rice cakes but because of the sweetness, the soft and slightly chewy rice cakes tasted pretty good. However, the highlight which should be the braised beef ribs, are kind of a waste of money because they are very dry and chewy. We would not have ordered these if we went for the table top BBQ.

My last complaint, these napkins are rough and tiny but at least they are available at every table, and you do not need to ask for more.

- Large variety of soup and hot pot available
- Friendly owner but forgetful

- No service
- No teapots at the table which is weird because usually every Korean restaurant has them. Plus, no one was around to refill tea or grab more pop (I am partially bias because I was sick and needed tea)
- Minimum order of two same BBQ dishes (if I like them enough, I will make a second order myself)
- Napkins are tiny and rough

- Music is really loud
- Never thought I would say this but I prefer the previous restaurant more, Jang Mo Jib (at least the food was better)

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2/5

Jong Ga BBQ Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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