December 25, 2008 2 Comments
I am the self-proclaimed Mr. Koreatown. In all my modesty, I like to say, I KNOW Koreatown. In all my humbleness, I know everything there is to know about Koreatown. Okay, I was joking. But I do feel I know Koreatown pretty well and I can suggest places for a handful of things. I have confidence in knowing Koreatown well enough for my needs. I suppose getting random calls from friends asking about where they can find good so-and-so helps pad my ego; too bad I can’t answer their questions all the time. But my heyday was a while ago and the dining scene in Koreatown has changed some.
With that said, I decided I wanted to go to Jun Won today. This restaurant has mostly fish dishes, good fish dishes I must say. I thought it would be my first time, but as I was approaching the place, I realized I had been there before. It was long ago when I did not like fish all too much. But some fish is good now. I wanted to come to Jun Won because on Olympic and… somewhere near Serrano, or maybe it is Serrano, this restaurant just opened a very small store where all they make is ban-chan (side dishes) and sell it. You have to have a lot of confidence if you’re a small restaurant and you are willing to pay rent in Los Angeles to just sell ban-chan, and only your ban-chan. And I have to say, their confidence is justified because I keep coming back for more, well my mom does, not me, but you get the point.
So I thought, if their ban-chan is this good, then the food this place makes must be good as well. If you’re looking for some Korean Barbeque then back off; there’s none of that unless you consider Bulgogi barbeque. Like I said before, fish.
We had the Dong-tae-jjigae (“Pollack casserole”) and the Eun-dae-gu-jorim (“Steamed cod fish”). I honestly don’t know why it’s translated into a casserole and I’m not too certain if “jorim” means steamed. I’m sure there’s another word out there for jorim but that’s not important. Casserole on the other hand, does not sit well with me. Jjigae is jjigae. It’s somewhere in between a soup and a stew, yet those aren’t good descriptions. Go eat a jjigae and you will know what a jjigae is. Damn English translations.
Anyway, the Dong-tae-jjigae is jjigae with it’s main ingredient being pollack (go figure). You can taste the fish in the jjigae and I guess you’re supposed to since it is the main ingredient. It tastes nice and it has a nice kick of spiciness to it. It is sure to clear your throat if it is in need of clearing. With most jjigaes of this type, you can taste the water and the red pepper flakes but the flavors are more distinct. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be like that but the dong-tae-jjigae here seemed to have a more unified taste. Maybe it’s just me. I usually don’t enjoy this jjigae; I eat some of the soup and that’s it. I have to say, I enjoyed it more here.
The other main dish we had was the Eun-dae-gu-jorim. Now this is a fish dish I like very much. It’s “simmered” in this marinade of which I have no idea what it’s made of. You have this cod cooked in the marinade with huge radishes. The marinade itself has some spices in it, and for the most part, is sweet. The fish itself is moist. Umm, don’t let the sauce go to waste. Make sure your portion of the fish is covered in this sauce.
I have to say, I liked it at Jun Won. It’s a small cozy place with good Korean food. Nothing fancy, but what can I say, ahjoomas make good Korean food. There is plenty of parking to find in the back but this place will not accommodate huge groups. It isn’t too big and Jun Won filled up pretty fast. I believe they close from 3:00pm to 5:30pm. Other than that, I do not know their hours. It’s on 8th Street in between Catalina and Berendo. It’s easy to miss and I guess the sign being in Korean does not help my non-Korean readers. It’s on the south end of 8th Street and the parking lot is on the Southwest corner of 8th Street and Berendo.
3100 W 8th St #101
Los Angeles, CA 90005