Our family took a work-ation to Newfoundland this past week, and I felt an obligation (a slightly selfish one), to seek out a Korean restaurant, and write a review for this blog. On our first night out, we came across a Korean restaurant, called “JKorean” near our hotel, and made a plan to attend for supper the next day.
There were no prices marked on the menu outside, or on the website, so we took our chances and headed in. The restaurant was opened by Julia Kwon, a former fashion designer who moved to Newfoundland in 1991. The restaurant itself is located in a cute, traditional 120 year old heritage home. Space was limited, but it was very charming. The lights were quite dim, with lots of romantic atmosphere, however, it was difficult to see what you were eating.
We were seated very quickly by a young male waiter, who brought us our menus, and took our drink orders. I was a bit surprised by the prices, but I think this may be “fancy restaurant pricing”. The prices are about triple what you would pay in Korea, and double what I would normally pay at other Korean restaurants in Canada. Here are the menus for you to review:
I was really impressed that we were served three different types of banchan (traditional Korean side dishes). There was regular kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and kamja jorim (potato)- my favourite!! Way to go JKorean, the side dishes really do make the meal much nicer.
We ordered mixed deep fried veggies for our appetizer and they were delicious! The batter was nice and light, and the pieces did not feel too oily or greasy. Even the onion was good! There was squash, sweet potato, onion, and green onion, served with a dipping sauce. The appetizer arrived in a traditional rice carrying basket (?) which my husband explained in full detail, and involved something about kids peeing the bed, and their parents throwing rice at them, to scare the tendency out of them. I can’t remember the story exactly, but I will research a bit more, and write a blog post about it for you.
I could not bear to order our 4 year old a $21 meal, so we ended up ordering her steamed dumplings for $7.50. The waiter brought us dumpling soup instead to begin with. He seemed like he might not take it back and exchange it for us, but I told him she really wouldn’t eat dumpling soup, and we hadn’t ordered it. I think the problem stemmed from my husband ordering in Korean, which must have confused the waiter, and he misheard our order. It ended up being no big deal, in the end, and they quickly made up the steamed Mandu, for Bobae.
My mom suffers from an autoimmune disorder that makes her options very limited. She loves going to Korean restaurants, because she is able to eat Japchae (sweet potato noodles), which she loves. $21.00 for a plate of japchae! Holy Japchae! Look at it though, all steamy and good. Something didn’t taste quite traditional though. It had a sort of sour spicy flavour that you don’t usually find in japchae, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on what had made the specific flavour.
My dad ordered hot bulgogi ($24.00), my husband had Yookgaejang ($19.50) and I ended up ordering Kamjatang, Pork Bone Soup, ($21.00). I had a hard time deciding between dolsot bibimbap, tangsuyook, and kamjatang. In Korea, we always went out for kamjatang, and I usually order that when available. I accidentally dropped one of the pork bones back into the boiling, bubbling soup, scalding my leg with the boiling water, when I tried to transfer the pork bone to a plate, using the metal chop sticks. I can’t blame the kamjatang though, that was my poor chopstick skills. After that, my hubby helped me with all of the meat pieces. I had a real cramp in my poor hand from trying to remove meat from the bone, by the end of the meal! I really appreciated the authentic taste of the kamjatang (even though it was missing potato!). My husband insists that though kamjatang translates to “potato soup”, it’s not actually about a potato, however, traditionally, potato is served in the soup. He says it has more to do with the type of bone.
Here is the yookgaejang and kamjatang, both were served with rice:
All in all we had a delicious meal. Would we visit again? Probably not, due to the high price of meals we can eat at other Korean restaurants, but it was a beautiful display, and we were quite satisfied. I would recommend JKorean if you wanted to go on a special date, but not a family meal.
Here are the opening hours, in case you are in the area!
You can find JKorean downtown: 194 Duckworth Street, St. John’s, NL A1C 1G5