I was feeling adventurous this week and I wanted to try something totally new. Lucky for me, I found Jin Ju, a contemporary Korean restaurant in Andersonville. Their website says, “We call ourselves contemporary because we offer our guests traditional Korean dishes in a modern atmosphere where either the novice or someone very familiar with Korean cuisine would be comfortable and have an amazing experience.” I have been to a few Korean restaurants (mostly fusion type), but would definitely consider myself a novice. The atmosphere is warm and inviting- dimly light, with candles on each table and dark wood tables. We decided to start with a couple of appetizers. First, we chose the Sam Gyup Sal: pork belly sautéed with brussels sprouts and fresh garlic, topped with soybean paste dressing, crispy leeks, beets, and sesame leaf. It was absolutely delicious! The pork belly was cooked to perfection and the presentation was beautiful. For our second appetizer, we chose the Pajun: a lightly fried scallion pancake with a soy sauce vinaigrette dipping sauce. The portion was huge, so it was good that there were a few of us to share it. The pancake was very tasty, crispy and not overly doughy. If you’re a little more adventurous than I am, they also have a Haemul Pajun, topped with squid and mussels. My best friend decided to try the Bi Bim Bap, a traditional Korean dish. It’s rice topped with beef, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, shredded radish, green leaf lettuce, a fried egg, and a spicy red pepper paste sauce. Again, the portion was huge; such a great value for the price. She loved the variety of veggies and said the spicy sauce was delicious. I ordered the Kalbi: beef short ribs marinated in a sweet soy sauce grilled and served with a scallion and green leaf lettuce salad with a soy bean paste dressing. This was fantastic. The short ribs were melt in your mouth tender and the flavor was the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
Jin Ju is located at 5203 N Clark St. Their hours are Sundays through Wednesdays from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, Thursdays from 5 pm to 10 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 pm to 11 pm. They do accept reservations. Book your table or find more information here.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO