I went to Jong Ga on sunday, they're located at 194-03 Northern Blvd (193rd and Northern); we drove, but it's close to the Auburndale stop on the LIRR if you are wondering how to get there. I'd never heard of the place before and it's pretty new, but my friend's GF knows the owners, is from the area and said the food is very good and much more "home style". So we decided to try it.
It's a pretty typical looking Korean restaurant, wood paneling, white walls, high ceilings. However, it is very clean and pretty new looking. The service was very good although it may have been b/c our table knew the people who own it. I'm not sure if they really speak english b/c everyone in the place was korean and our table spoke Korean. However, the menu is translated into english, so you can always point.
Anyhow, onto the food:
- panchan: all of their panchan was pretty good and fresh, definitely a notch up from most Korean restaurants. The two standouts were the octopus in gochujang sauce, the octopus was tender and it tasted great, the other was a raw crab marinated in chili sauce (gei jang)...I'm a big fan of gei jang and their version was quite good, great sauce, good tasting crab. My friend's GF said they were known for their gei jang and made sure they brought it out. They also gave us an insane amt of panchan like literally i think i probably could've just ate the panchan and rice and been full.
- kimchi pan jun (kimchi pancake): great, nice and crispy not gooey at all. Self-explanatory, but very flavorful and good
- kalbi: i wasn't actually planning on ordering this, but i looked at the other table and we all thought that it looked really good and decided to order some bbq. They use charcoal which they bring to the table and then put a metal grill over it. Their kalbi was excellent, the quality of the meat was very good and it wasn't overmarinated; i'm not 100% sure but i don't think their meat was frozen, tasted very fresh. This was probably the best kalbi i've had in NY. Highly recommend
- a gu jjim (spicy monk stew): we specifically came here for this dish as my gf wanted it. A gu jjim is a big stew in a really big pot (enough for 4-5 people) that has chunks of monk fish, bean sprouts, spring onions, scallions in a red spicy sauce. This dish is easy screw up and most places make it horribly. They did a great job on the dish. The monk fish was nice and tender, the sauce was spicy and not overly sweet or salty. They also give you some soy sauce and wasabi that you can dip the monk fish in. I really liked this and I don't even think i've had a decent version in NY, so this was a really nice surprise. Highly recommend
- mul naeng myun (arrowroot buckwheat noodle): they gave us this for free. However, their version wasn't very good. The broth is a cold broth that should be a little tangy with sliced korean pears in it. I really like this dish, but its easy to screw up and i wouldn't recommend it here. The broth was a little weak and the noodles were just ok
- bi bim naeng myun: bi bim naeng myun is the same cold noodles as the previously mentioned mul naeng myun except it's not in a broth its served in a spicy chili sauce with sliced cucumbers, hard boiled eggs and sometimes with fish. Same problems, noodles were just so so and sauce was ok. I wouldn't get this here
Overall, this restaurant was really good. Way better than most other korean restaurants in NY and I agree with my friend's GF's assessment that it is more "home style" (i've eaten a ton of my GF's mom's cooking who happens to be the best korean cook ever...better than korea good). Panchan, a gu jjim and kalbi were very good. I'd highly recommend coming here.