Monday, August 12, 2013

Restaurant Review: Jang Su Jang

Jang Su Jang - visited July 27, 2013
Since I started including write ups about bakeries and restaurants I've visited in addition to my usual recipe trials (and tribulations), by now you've probably noticed I eat out a lot.  I actually didn't think I did until I started lining up the blog posts and realized I have quite a queue when I include baking experiments, bakeries and restaurants. As in, I could skip baking for the rest of the month and still have plenty of material to keep my blog alive nearly every day.  I think part of it is my birthday was last month and that necessitated a flurry of get togethers with friends to go out and celebrate at various restaurants. And every time I meet with any of them, I have to bake something to bring to them, right? Also, let's not kid ourselves: my social life revolves around eating out with friends. Then I have my bakery run group, Sugar Rush, at work with my colleagues. Plus I bake to try out new recipes.
Not the best interior shot
Oh well :).  The best part about this though is I've become much more aware of my culinary surroundings and keep realizing how fortunate I am to live where there's a plethora of eating places to try.  In my perpetual quest to support local small businesses, restaurants and bakeries are natural choices to enable that goal quite easily.  Or at least I assume most of them are small businesses; sometimes the websites don't say but I'm going by whatever information I can find.

Although I had gone to ToBang Korean BBQ the night before with my friend Cindy, I didn't plan very well and had also made plans with my niece, my cousin and her son Vanilla King to try out Jang Su Jang, another Korean BBQ place and a Michelin Guide recommendation for the last couple of years.  Good thing I like Korean BBQ since I was about to have it two nights in a row. Jang Su Jang has a 4-star rating on yelp plus a couple of friends also personally recommended it so I was looking forward to trying it.  We got there at 6:30 but it was already crowded and we ended up having to wait almost 45 minutes for a "regular table" as the BBQ tables where you could cook your dinner at your table were going to be an even longer wait.  When you have an 8-year-old with you, it's not a good idea to wait any longer than necessary, although I must say he bore up surprisingly well.  We amused ourselves by watching K-Pop on the TV in the foyer while we waited for our pager to announce they had a table for us.  (side note: I know nothing about Korean pop stars but it's always startling to see blond Asians on TV.)
Steamed Dumplings
Inside the restaurant, it was pretty busy but the tables were sectioned off with fairly high dividers so we actually seemed more enclosed and it was nice to have some privacy.  We each put in an order for a dish to share with everyone else.  The steamed dumplings came out first and I liked that they had a fairly thin wrapper so each one its own wasn't too filling.  The other dishes came out fairly quickly and the service was good.  When Vanilla King speared another dumpling, I teased him and asked if that was his third one.  His response: "no, my seventh".  LOL, there's an endorsement of the dumplings for you.

We also had a tasty noodle dish with glass noodles, common in most Asian noodle dishes, and one I prefer to more traditional wheat noodles.  The seafood pancake wasn't free like it was at ToBang but I have to admit it was really good.  They served it hot on a cast iron skillet so it was crunchy and had a light crispy texture.  I normally don't like all that "stuff" in my food but even I enjoyed the seafood pancake.  Now I know what the yelp reviewers were talking about when they praised the pancake.
Crispy Seafood Pancake
Since we were at a Korean BBQ place, we had to have the marinated short ribs, which is probably what got me hooked on Korean BBQ in the first place, many years ago.  Jang Su Jang's version was delicious, very flavorful and tender.
Marinated Short Ribs
And I'm not going to lie - the Bul Go Gee (marinated beef) was spectacular. Also tender, also full of flavor.  If I'm ever on a low-carb diet, I could live on this stuff alone, even without rice. My Asian ancestors are probably disowning me for that one but it's true.
Bul Go Gee
Probably the only two downsides to Jang Su Jang were the wait time for a table and the cost.  The food was delicious but rather pricey. For two entrees, a noodle dish, two appetizers, steamed rice and a couple of sodas, it was just under $100 for the four of us with very little leftover food to take home.  I don't mind spending money for good food but this probably isn't somewhere I'd go to that often because it would get cost prohibitive to patronize regularly.  Plus I like trying new places so I'd rather try a spendy new place than to keep going back to a spendy place I've gone to before. However, I'm glad I tried it and know there's a good place for Korean BBQ I can always fall back on. 
And there are many other people who feel differently and wouldn't mind spending the money or waiting for a table; by the time we left the restaurant a little after 8 pm, there were even more people waiting for a table than when we had gone in and not only was the foyer crowded but there was also a lot of people milling around outside waiting for their pagers to go off announcing their table was ready.  Wow.  Clearly people know good Korean food when they come across it and they don't mind waiting for it or paying more for it. All good news for Jang Su Jang.

No comments:

Post a Comment