Si-gol-jip is an unassuming, no-name place with a stellar kitchen, says Melanie Wong. Porthos agrees: the food is excellent, the best on El Camino. Stand outside and give it a sniff–the aromas are very inviting, always a good sign. Gool Jun (oyster with fried green onion in batter) is $12.95, and you get about a dozen small, very fresh oysters dipped in green onion-egg batter and fried until just barely done, still creamy and soft in the middle with a sweet and mild flavor. They’re terrific with a splash of the garlicky vinegar dipping sauce. It’s a large portion of high-quality oysters for the price.
Nine panchan are served with dinner, along with a light vegetable broth with cubes of tender daikon and firm tofu. Braised mixed vegetables steeped in a briny, spicy marinade are especially interesting. The spicy heat cuts like a laser across the palate and persists for a long time. The seaweed panchan is also great–the shreds of fresh, almost crunchy kelp and leeks are served barely warm and lightly seasoned so their natural flavor blossoms.
Kal bi naeng myun (Korean barbecued short ribs with chilled buckwheat noodles) comes with a large portion of well-marbled, tender-chewy, deeply beefy short ribs. The marinade is a bit sweet, but the quality of the beef is excellent. Keok yum so bok kum (black goat and vegetables in hot sauce) features boneless braised goat meat in a delicious sauce, served with curlicued pieces of jelly-soft rind. An appetizer and two massive dishes run $57, but it’s way too much food for two–there was “nearly a quart of the goat leftover to take home,” says Melanie Wong.
Si-gol-jip Korean B. B. Q. Restaurant [Santa Clara County]
2358 El Camino Real, Santa Clara