Last night the pre-planning picnic committee got together for a bite at this korean restaurant, recommended early last January here on the board. And with one exception the dishes we had were delicious.
(So, yes, that does mean there'll be a picnic, if you're contacted to head a committee or by a head of a committee to work, pitch in, that's the way it will happen.) Onto to dinner...
we began with 3 large and when they said large they meant it! beers, OB lager, light and refreshing, a little yeasty. As a chef's treat everyone found a small metal bowl filled with red liquid, 2 leaves of what appeared to be large spinach and a pile of thin vermicelli. The broth had a kim chee-like smell and flavor although it wasn't quite as strong as if it'd just been taken from the kim chee tub.
Our appetizer was #19: goon man du pan-fried pork and vegetable dumplings with a light soy and sesame seed dipping sauce. they weren't heavy at all, the wrapper medium weight and the bottoms nicely crisped. there were probably 24 on the plate (7.95)
The next dish they brought out, tho we saved it for last, were the cold noodles in broth served with yellow bean paste and white vinegar on the side. I, unfortunately forgot to write this one down, but i believe it's #61, Mul Naeng Mean,(7.95), described in the menu as cold buckwheat noodles in a soup. The presentation of this dish was interesting, as the waiter brought a pair of scissors with him to the table and proceeded to cut the noodles right in the bowl. most unfortunately this did not aid in getting them out of the bowl and onto our plates! I enjoyed this dish as the flavors were very complimentary and gentle and the coolness of the dish was well received on a hot summer night.
On his way out another diner (not recognizing himself as a true chowhound) introduced himself to our table and made reference to a little bit of confusion we'd had with the waiter over serving us chilean sea bass rather than the house special, boiled down croaker with special sauce plus bean paste stew(b and c under Jang Ha House Specials at $19.95 each) which we had, of course, most kindly sent back to the kitchen with our regrets as it did look especially enticing, but we were told croaker wasn't available after all. Well, this gentleman stopped by to assure us that the sea bass was delightful and they ate it all the time, as was the epitome of korean food, bi bim bap, which his father had eaten that very night. He also went on to make mention that he and several friends had traveled the bay area, far and wide to find the best cold noodle soup we'd just tried, and although he acknowleged this version was fine, he said the place to go for it in all the area is Seoul Johm Tang, on the corner of el camino real on a small side street just before you get to kiley. was that an unlikely chow spotting!
Next up we had the Sam Gyub Sal Boke Um,(9.95), sauteed korean style bacon and vegetables. after fatty chinese bacon this wasn't what i was expecting. it had nice flavors and the accompanying vegetables were crisp, everything was uniform in size and covered with a paste-y red sauce, but it wasn't as spicy as i'd anticipated it to be when he'd asked us if we wanted spicy, to my tastebuds it was infact mild and lacked in real bacon flavor.
the last thing we'd ordered was the Bul Go Gee,(14.95), juicy, tender, BBQ marinated thin sliced beef, which, with the multitude of side dishes offered to us was a delight. you could roll up dired anchovies, cucumbers with onions in vinegar, fried seaweed, bean sprouts, sweet cucumbers, waldorf salad, kim chee both young and aged, pickled turnip,and cold spinach.
again from the kitchen we were sent a little something to end our meal. a slightly sweetened toasted rice drink with a flavor similar to genmichi without the tea.
we enjoyed ourselves and would all take another trip there.
Jong Ga House
372 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610
Seoul Johm Tang
On the corner of a small side street just before keily off the el camino real going west