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Nom Nom Nom – Review: New Jang Su BBQ

So it’s the end of July already and that means we’re in the midst of summer and grilling season! Break out the grills if you haven’t already; time to eat some BBQ food! Coincidentally, I’ve been eating a lot of BBQ food lately… And no, I don’t mean hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and shish kabobs. I mean Korean BBQ! What is Korean BBQ you ask? Well, if you haven’t had it before, here is Wikipedia’s definition of it:

Korean barbecue, or gogi gui, refers to the Korean method of grilling beef, pork, chicken, or other types of meat.

Okay, from that definition, it might not sound like a big difference from what you think grilling is in your mind right now but pretty much the difference is instead of grilling on a big massive free-standing individual contraption that might be named the “Grillmeister 9000,” the gas or charcoal grill is embedded in the center of the dining table.

New Jang Su BBQ Restaurant
260 Cambridge St.
Burlington, MA 01803

Review Date: July 17, 2010

If you’ve ever find yourself wandering around the Burlington area of MA and craving for some good Korean BBQ, then hit up this place! You might, of course, need to enlist the help of your GPS to find this place, as it isn’t really off a main road. It is in fact embedded inside of a quaint little strip mall, right next to a laundromat. Don’t drive too fast (or blink) or else you will zip right pass this place (which I almost did). But, with that said, don’t let the outside facade fool you; the food is actually on par or better than the other Korean BBQ joints in the city.

Gul Go-Chu Pajun aka Korean seafood pancake

Tuk Bok Ki aka Korean-style rice cakes

For starters, we ordered the Gul Go-Chu Pajun (Korean-style pancake with scallions, oysters, and hot pepper) and the Tuk Bok Ki (sliced rice cakes and scallions stir-fried in seasoned hot chili sauce). The Gul Go-Chu Pajun was pretty good here, pretty flavorful and better than at lots of other places which I’ve tried this. The Tuk Bok Ki was pretty good too, although I found it to be more sweet than spicy, despite the description with “hot chili sauce;” then again, of course, I loveee Thai food so I can withstand more than just a mild flavor in spicy food.

Bul Go Ki and short ribs chillin on the grill

For the main dishes, we, of course, ordered the barbeque plates: the Bul Go Ki, which is just sliced tender prime rib eyes, marinated with homemade sauce; short ribs, which is exactly that, short ribs marinated with homemade sauce; and I forgot the actual name of the third dish, but it was just a plate of pork belly and raw squid with vegetables marinated with their homemade spicy sauce. For each barbeque plate that you order, it comes with a bowl of rice. And you also get the ubiquitous plates of kimchi that come with your meal too. Kimchi are traditional Korean dishes of vegetables that are seasoned and usually fermented, or pickled.

Pork belly and squid bar-be-que plate on the grill

The Bul Go Ki and short ribs actually tasted quite flavorful. Nom nom nom. I guess they marinated them well enough here. Unlike at some other places in which I’ve tried, they tasted kinda bland and just well, tasted like beef. The meat was nice and tender too; easy to chew, not like eating rubber, although the texture could change if you leave the meat on the grill cooking too long. We had cooked it to be about medium so I think anymore, the meat would start to get leathery. The pork belly and squid plate, in my opinion, only tasted okay. But hey, this is what we get for trying out new stuff. It tasted a bit spicy but besides that, I didn’t really find anything special with this place. At least the squid wasn’t too chewy; I guess we cooked it to be the right temperature then. The only disappointment I had was their selection of kimchi, or lack thereof. I am not a big fan of the red and spicy kimchi dishes, like the pickled cabbage for instance, and that was mostly all they had. I actually like the kimchi mung beans or watercress that some other places have but unfortunately this place didn’t have either. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Plates of kimchi but no mung beans or watercress... ๐Ÿ™

Overall, this place does serve good food. Like I said earlier, it is at least on par, if not better than, with some of the other places inside the city. I guess if you lived all the way in Burlington, you don’t have to drive 45 minutes into the city of Boston just to have good Korean BBQ; you have one right in the middle of your town already. Furthermore, in comparison, I recently went to New York City for a day trip and for dinner, we had decided to venture into their Koreatown and also had Korean BBQ there (yes, again). But this place we had went to (which shall remain nameless for protection purposes… hah), wasn’t as good as New Jang Su. Even though they had the mung beans kimchi that I like, the rest of the food was only meh. Their Bul Go Ki tasted kinda bland (to me). Their Naeng Myun, which is basically a noodle soup with slices of beef but instead of hot soup, it’s cold, was okay… I liked the fact that we were having cold soup on a hot and humid summery day while also eating hot BBQ food too, but the soup tasted a bit too sour for me, even without adding the vinegar that they had provided for us. The food might have been excusable but something that wasn’t was their service. The waitress serving us was slow at everything: checking on when the meat was ready on the grill, refilling our waters. The only task that she was fast with was bringing our bill. The service at New Jang Su was 100x better. At least she came back in a timely manner and checked on our meats and refilled our waters too.

Money: $$$ (out of 4)

Good date place? Neither place has quite that “romantic” setting but sure, I would bring a date here but… I wouldn’t go anywhere else after dinner in public, unless you like people to know that you smell of Korean BBQ…

Grade: B+ (for New Jang Su); C- (for the place in NYC)

Would I return? (Yay or nay): Yay to New Jang Su; Hellz Nay to the NYC one!

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