Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jang Mo Jib : Robson location

What is Jang Mo Jib known for? One of the first popular Korean restaurants. What else? Being a chain restaurant with many locations. And? Having horrendous service! I have no idea why but having visited Jang Mo Jib in Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam numerous times, none of the staff (including the owners!) have ever been friendly! I really do not understand why. But, I have never tried the Jang Mo Jib in Downtown and with many recent mediocre gamjatangs, I really needed a good one. 

Jang Mo Jib does one thing great and it is their gamjatang. The restaurant has the ground wild sesame seeds going on along with chilli powder, and does not cheap out.

Walking in, we waited a good ten minutes without any acknowledgement including from the owner. At first, I did not really mind because I used the opportunity to take a panoramic photo without looking weird. But after a while it is like, hello? Is the restaurant making too much money?

After seating at a table that was not wiped off or sanitized, it was nice to see one of the waitresses cleaning up another table; next to our gamjatang which sat there for a while. The restaurant has plenty of booth seating arrangements as well as tables in the centre, and I believe there are even a few tables at the back. As we were ordering, we asked if it was possible to grab a booth seat because the amount of food we ordered would not fit a two person table. However, since the restaurant's policy is four people to a booth, we had to cancel three dishes. So… the restaurant choses to lose $60.00 when every booth seat was available?

Anyways, about our table which was neither sanitized nor cleaned and had bits of food; it was fine because I used tea along with napkins to wipe the surface and clean the dirty cutlery. But, when more dirty tableware arrived? Alright, I already used tea to clean the chopsticks, plates and spoons, but now this? This is just too much. Maybe I would not have been so mad if we did not wait ten minutes just to wave someone down for new tongs and a spoon. Do I need to mention that there were four waitresses on the floor, we sat right by the owner, and only the middle of the restaurant was occupied?

"Large morsels of bone-in pork, potato wedges, sliced onion, cooked Asian leefy greens served in a rich pork broth sprinkled with chilli powder and cracked wild sesame seeds. Cooked to completion at your table." There are two items I really enjoy and the reasons for visiting are for Jang Mo Jib's gamjatang as well as the galbi ribs. If anything, the gamjatang did not arrive boiling hot like at most Korean restaurants… However, perhaps the boil died down from sitting at the other table earlier on.

We asked for the gamjatang to be "extra spicy" and the broth has a rich spiciness, which does not overwhelm the ingredients. In addition, there is no BS attempt to make the broth spicy by adding kimchi (like Potter's Garden and Go Gung) and the restaurant makes it properly; with gochujang and chilli powder. Furthermore, the restaurant does not cheap out on the ingredients and makes sure that dried vegetables along with wild sesame seeds are added.

The gamjatang is already cooked but for a more flavourful taste, the hot pot needs to be further boiled at the table. The broth has an alright pork flavour (not rich) along with a nice level of spiciness, and the flavours of all the spices are there. However, the meat does not taste tender enough and should have been cooked longer in the kitchen. Usually and always, the meat falls of the bones when having gamjatang.

TOHNG GALBI, "traditional AAA thick cut bone-in beef ribs marinated in our house BBQ marinade, barbecued over charcoal, sesame sprinkled and served on a cast iron plate with house salad" ($29.95).
The ribs have a flavourful sweet marinade and I really like Jang Mo Jib's. However, the ribs do not have much of a barbecued flavour and taste slightly overcooked. Hence, slightly chewy as well as dry, and not as tender as galbi should be. Although to be fair, when the ribs are nicely cooked, I really like Jang Mo Jib's because of their sweeter (but not overly) marinade.

After a while, the side dishes arrived and look so… unappealing. To start, the radish kimchi has freezer burns so neither of us tried it. Following, the safest banchan was probably the bean sprouts which taste quite watery (we did not mind since neither of us had expectations just by the presentation). Continuing along, the yams taste soft (not mushy) and are slightly sweet. Last up, we did not try the kimchi because it looks a bit dry.

GO DEUNG UH GOO WEE, "rock salt cured half Norwegian mackerel grilled and served on a cast iron plate with lemon wedge" ($13.95).
The mackerel tastes moist and has flaky meat, along with a naturally salty grilled flavour. To compare, the fish tastes better than Sura's but is not comparable to Toe Dam Korean's. Nevertheless, the point is the fish is not overcooked.

TOTAL: $79.60 + TIP $7.40 = $87.00.

While eating, a strange little memory crept into my thoughts; eating here reminds me of eating at Hon's Wun-Tun House when I was young. Hon's was buzzing with wave and waves of people lining up to be seated, it was the restaurant to go to for regular Chinese food or their famous pot stickers. Now, the restaurant is replaced by restaurants with similar but better food, and is only surviving because of a handful of loyal patrons. 

Another perfect example would be the restaurant Knight and Day. Anyways, I always believe that whatever industry we are involved in or part of, we would have a pretty good understanding of the past, present and future of the industry. Keeping that in mind, if Jang Mo Jib keeps on mistreating its customers, what makes them think they will survive in this competitive food and beverage industry? I can already think of two Jang Mo Jib locations that have already shut their doors. All it takes is another restaurant business owner to come along and say, "I think I can do better!" and the only living things buzzing to a restaurant that does not give its customers proper treatment, would be FLIES?

- Open late night
- Descriptive menu
- Flavourful marinade
- One of the better gamjatangs

- Dirty tableware
- Food is usually better at Jang Mo Jib (or at least the other locations)
- Not all tables are wiped down and sanitized
- Staff is not efficient, friendly or aware of customers' needs

- No table top barbecuing
- Service rating was a negative because of the mentioned experience. In addition, we asked numerous times for napkins and never got any. Also, we asked many times for the bill which took at least fifteen minutes to arrive (when the restaurant was half full and we sat beside the cashier). However, the rating is no longer negative because the meal included four rices and despite our waitress slamming them on the table, some restaurants may only provide a couple because it was just the two of us
- Will I revisit? No. To date, Toe Dam Korean seems to be the best Korean restaurant I have come across (for galbi and gamjatang)

Food: 2.5/5 (gamjatang 3/5, galbi 2/5)
Service: 0/5

Jang Mo Jib on Urbanspoon

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