Jin Ju

February 23 2006 - 10:25 AM

Aside from Korean BBQ, I’ve really only eaten Korean food once. It was at a restaurant that I could recognize and return to without knowing the name (which is written in Korean on their rather large sign). Jin Ju is nowhere near that type of environment. It’s not quiet. It’s not predominately Korean and I could figure out, or was told exactly what was what.

It’s a Korean restaurant for Americans… easy enough. But oddly it’s pretty unique in that respect. From myriad plates of Kim Chee and other "items" to the phonetically challenging dish names Korean food is pretty unusual and has not really been geared to Americans in any major way.

So while we have adopted Thai food as the Asian fare de rigueur and Vietnamese pho is more unusual, Korean is pretty much off the map. But maybe Jin Ju will help to change that.

It’s your typical Andersonville restaurant in most ways. The crowd
is fun, waiting for a table isn’t an evil experience, it’s up beat. The
menu is nice with fish options and vegeterian options as well. I was
looking for hot and our very helpful waiter recommended the Bulgogi
which I asked for extra hot. A couple of Dol Sut Be Bim Baps were
ordered.

To start we ate around the kim chee and got mandoo, beef dumplings
and pajun, a scallion pancake. As a saki fan I was interested in the
so-ju martini things. It’s a distilled rice wine that somewhat shares a
taste with sake. While I thought it had a higher alcohol content the
drinks were mixed with vodka so after two let’s just say I loved
everything.


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The appetizers were very tasty. My association with Korean food is a
bit of a vinegary pickled flavor. Not exactly kim chee but heading
there. It’s kind of the way Thai is lemongrass and Vietnamese is fish
sauce. The dishes were very good. The pancake came with a soy-dumpling
dipping sauce and the mandoo we ordered steamed.

The entrees were nice but a criticizm of the Dol Suts was that there
was little other than noodles in the bowl. Little protein, mostly
carbs. My bulgogi was hot enough to not bother trying anyone else’s
food. It was delicious and I’d have a hard time not ordering it again.
It was peppery hot with that hint of vinegar that, like salt, brought
out the flavors of the onions and the peppers.

The waiter was very helpful stirring in the raw egg in the dol suts
and the soybean paste soup on the side was fantastic. I wish it was an
option in more pan asian restaurants instead of the very similar miso
soup.

The next day I did have a big headache, I’m assuming from the So-Ju,
though it may have been from the rail vodka tonics from a bar across the
street.

Jin Ju
5203 N. Clark

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