korean: jong ga house.

date 11.21.08

contact 372 Grand Ave/Oakland, CA 94610/510.444.7658I

hours Mon.-Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m./Sun. 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

price $10 – $30

I was on some mission to find all the best restaurants in the Oakland/Berkeley area, so I yelped all the foods I liked and bookmarked them. Feeling like Korean food, Dan and I decided we’d go to Jong Ga House in Oakland near Lake Merritt. We usually go to a different Korean place down Telegraph, but we figured we’d try this place. The first time we went, I forgot my camera. Erin came down for the weekend and we went again, with my camera.

The inside of this place is pretty big and pretty nice. I guess this place does Korean BBQ as well; all the tables are equipped to BBQ.

Inside of Jong Ga House.
Inside of Jong Ga House.

Once you order they give you a small bowl of cold kimchee soup with noodles. It’s pretty tasty. Then my favorite part, the side dishes. They give like 18 side dishes! It’s amazing!

Side dishes.
Side dishes.

Jong Ga House has some sides that I’ve never gotten before and they are good! One of our favorites is the tempura-ed broccoli. It’s served cold with some dried chili(I think) on top.

Tempura-ed broccoli side dish.
Tempura-ed broccoli side dish.

Another one of our favorites is the deep-fried potato pieces. It’s fried in some kind of tempura like batter then drenched in a honey like sauce. It’s served cold, which makes the batter drenched in honey kind of hard, but it’s still really good.

Fried potato side dish.
Fried potato side dish.

The menu here is quite extensive. They have something for everyone. Noodles, rice, soups, meat, veggies, seafood, they have it all. For someone like me, who is very indecisive, this menu is quite a feat to tackle, but I like that there are so many choices. After much deliberation I decided on the kimchee fried rice with beef ($9.95).

Kimchee Fried Rice with Beef.
Kimchee Fried Rice with Beef.

When I saw the plate come out it looked amazing; lots of kimchee and lots of sauce. I wasn’t expecting it to be as sweet as it was. Actually I wasn’t expecting it to be sweet at all, I mean, it’s fried rice. The first bite was interesting. For fried rice this was pretty saucy. The sauce was sweet with chili in it and I wasn’t sure if I liked it that much or not. However, the more I ate it, the more I liked it. The beef in mine was a little tough. I felt like I got pieces with lots of gristle or something, but the ones that didn’t have it were good. The best part of it was all the chopped up kimchee. I love kimchee. I pretty much went to Korea to eat kimchee. The kimchee was very good, not too vinegary, not too spicy, and still crunchy after being stir fried. Of course there was a sunny side up egg which seems to come with every Korean dish. I liked the yolk on the rice. I tend to like yolk on most things, but the yolk on the rice tasted really good. It kind of balanced out the sweetness of the rice. I only ended up eating half of my meal and taking the other half home. Honestly, I think I liked it better a day old and cold. It didn’t taste as sweet and the sauce made the rice kind of gooey in a good way. I don’t know that I’d get this again, but I’m glad that I tried it.

Overall I love this place. The price is good for as much as you get and the service is great. Not to stero-type, but generally I’m not used to good service at Korean places unless I’m with someone who speaks Korean. At Jong Ga House the servers are attentive and very kind. They filled waters, cleared plates, and asked us if we wanted anymore side dishes, even though we hadn’t touched most of them they saw that we’d finished the ones we liked. So, if you’re in the Oakland/Berkeley area and are looking for good Korean food, stop by Jong Ga House in Oakland. It’s good eats!

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