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March 7th, 2011 BECKY OHLSEN | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Cheap Eats 2011: Jang Choong Dong Wang Jok Bal

Walking in here is like getting an unexpected, welcome hug. Anchoring a strip mall in bleakest suburbia, JCD looks off-putting from the outside, but indoors is a tiny universe of delight. A few wooden booths populate the dimly lit cafe; it’s charmingly decorated, with antique-papered walls, faded paintings, basket lanterns and one big TV near the cash register, broadcasting Asian game shows. The world’s sweetest couple runs the kitchen: She takes orders, he cooks and occasionally peeks out to see whom he’s cooking for. The banchan (a variety of appetizers included with the meal) include shining examples of kimchi, thinly sliced fish cake and golden cubes of solidified heaven called gam ja—braised potato seasoned with honey and sesame. Those potatoes alone could turn a bad day around. But it couldn’t hurt to order a scallion-seafood pancake ($9.95). JCD’s version is the best I’ve had, with a hot and crisp crust around a dense, custardy middle, filled with chunks of green onion, peppers, tender shrimp, oysters and squid.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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