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Restaurants & Bars 3

Chin-Go-Gae

Joe MacBu | Dec 3, 2004 05:13 PM

Since I'd been craving goat lately, I decided to check out Chin-Go-Gae, listed in the Koreatown Top 40 issue of LA Weekly from the Feb 6 issue.

I was lucky to have armed myself with the exact address [3063 W. Eighth St] since the sign in English merely states "Korean Restaurant." Not much English is spoken inside either [nor on the phone], which is a good sign for me.

The card menu on the table lists about 8 or 10 dishes, some with translations, others without. But if you look around, you'll notice that every table has the same dish - a bowl of orange broth with tons of greens and chunks of goat. Prices range up to about $15. I said "goat" and was pointed by the waitress to the top 2 items. The difference between them was described as "soup" and "no soup." Each dish is about $14. We got one of each and a bottle of Korean raspberry wine [$15].

Out came the panchan of 6 dishes. Most of were the spicy red chili variety, except for a bowl of cabbage in broth. Then came the raspberry wine, which is reminiscent of manishevitz, but much better. It was actually very good.

Then the 2 goat dishes arrived, and the waitress' simple description couldn't have been more correct. They were essentially the same dish, one with soup and one without. This was young goat, and lacked the robust flavor of an older, non-castrated goat I was desiring. The goat doesn't overwhelm either dish, but works complexly with sesame leaves and other greens in the dish. If you go, get the one with the soup.

The soupy goat is set on a gas burner in the middle of the table. Then the waitress brings about 2 tons of mixed greens and lays it on top of the soup. You cram them down until they wilt into the soup and you realize that you will be very regular the rest of the week. Halfway through the bowl, another quart of broth is added by the waitress, as well as another 2 tons of greens, just for good measure. When you're almost done with the soup, she comes back and fishes out all the veggies, leaving just the broth. Then she adds some rice and 1 ton of greens and some prepared seaweed. This is thoroughly mixed and left to boil down until it's burned onto the pot. Jonathan Gold was right; this is the best part of the meal, even after you're stuffed and don't want to look at food. You can't resist laboriously scraping the burnt bits from the pot, cursing the damn pot for not being more stick-resistant, while also realizing that if it were, the fond just wouldn't be as right-on.

It was so good, I took the leftover goat with no soup home, made it into a soup, cooked up some rice, added some seaweed and cooked it down in my wok. I just finished scraping and cursing my wok. Mmmmm.

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