Thursday, November 29, 2018

First Bite: Jin Joo Korean Grill

Korean BBQ is one of the hottest concepts in Manila to date. With several barbecue joints opening here and there, competition has been very tough that simply offering the classics won't do. Jin Joo knew this and brought its A game by offering not just one or two flavors of samgyupsal but eight which was something new in the Korean BBQ food scene, at least in Manila. And Jin Joo has a few more up its sleeves, or grill for that matter.

Hello, Jin Joo Korean Grill.
Jin Joo has been making buzz with its wide selection of Korean BBQ and 8 Flavors Samgyupsal which piqued the interest of many.
Positioned as a premium Korean restaurant, be prepared to spend a few thousands if you wish to enjoy some of Jin Joo's bestsellers.
A cousin of mine celebrated his birthday at its SM Aura branch last month. Since reservation is not accepted on weekends, we had to come half an hour earlier to get a table for our party of 11.
We got to the place around 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday and the place was packed! Wait though was not that long and we got a table 15 minutes later.

My cousin ordered Jin Joo's popular 8 Flavors Samgyupsal (PHP1,560) as well as Cheese Deung Galbi (PHP950) and Meat Platter Set 1 which includes Samgyupsal, Galbisal, Jumulleok, Dak Galbi and Wusamgyeop (PHP2,499).
One thing I noticed at Jin Joo, particularly this branch, was how sticky its menu and banchan saucers were. I had to wash or wipe my hands every time I pass a banchan or flip the menu. Such made the dining experience not as pleasant from the beginning.
The tables and chairs are too close to each other too making it difficult for guests and servers to go around without bumping someone's seat.
I was glad though that Jin Joo offers a bunch of banchan. The marbled potatoes and sweetened banana were my favorites.
My cousin opted to have the food cooked in the kitchen to avoid having all of us smell like BBQ. And it did save us time from prepping dinner ourselves.
The meat platter was served first and the meats were served on different plates making it not as impressive as perhaps when served all together in one big plate. Then again, it made passing around easier for our big group.
Though the meats were juicy and tender, none stood out for me. In fact, almost every single meat tasted the same. My shobe was also a bit disappointed that Jin Joo does not serve that sweet sauce to go with wusamgyeop and samgyupsal.
I was looking forward to the other two dishes my cousin ordered and both left us underwhelmed as well.
The 8 Flavors Samgyupsal featuring herb, honey garlic, smokey barbecue, curry, miso, sweet wine, peanut and red pepper had so much promise. However, only a few were flavorful enough to stand out. The ones that had distinct and pronounced flavor were curry and peanut.
I was hoping that Cheese Deung Galbi would tickle my taste buds but it also failed to do so. Though the meat was tender, it was on the bland side. 
The cheese taste was not sharp enough and drowned in the meat's light flavor.
We thought that the steamed egg would save the night but... it was like eating steamed salt! It was too salty.
I've read several reviews that mention Jin Joo to be a great choice for Korean BBQ lovers. I'm not sure if we just ordered the wrong sets or meats but it will take me a long time before dropping by again.

Jin Joo Korean Grill is located at 5th Floor, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Jin Joo Korean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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