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Reincarnated: Seoul Shinjung

One of the things that is very common among Korean restaurants is how they reincarnate. When they go out of business, the space doesn’t get abandoned. Instead, they get bought out by new owners and they stay the same way — the same concept, the same restaurant name, the same decor, the same menu (most times). There may be different management/owners and a different chef but sometimes even the chef stays behind. That’s what happened with Cafe Toh Dam in Suwannee, Myung Ga Won, Nam San Gol, Well Bean, and Kal Guk Si in Duluth, just to name a few. It’s also exactly what’s happened here. This place used to be called Seoul Restaurant. It’s now Seoul Shinjung. New name, new owners, new management, new chef, new menu, same location, same decor.

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

One thing that’s noticeable here is the improvement in service. Asian restaurants aren’t really well known for service. You just have to accept it and get used to it. Flagging down a server for anything you need is a way of life. The menu has also been whittled down considerably. I wasn’t shown an English menu so I’m not sure if there even exists one. The good thing is that the servers speak more than a bit of English and will tell you what’s on the menu. The bad thing is that they’ll tell you the names of the dishes in Korean. Asking them to describe what those are, well, that’s almost impossible.

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Seou Shinjung (Duluth)

Did you know? The number one reason I love Duluth is because there exists a myriad of Korean restaurants that offer good and cheap eats. Combo lunches at Seoul Shinjung from 11AM until 3PM will only set you back $7.49. That includes 7-8 types of banchan, a huge bowl of soup, and a meat dish. On this visit, I got yukgaejang (spicy beef soup) and pork bulgogi. The soup broth is so much better than before. There are huge chunks of beef and even a piece or two of beef tripe! It may not be the best version in the city but it’s decent enough to eat on multiple visits. The pork bulgogi has lots of tender and flavorful meat. What’s not to like?

So, if you ever find yourself in this parts of north Peachtree Industrial Blvd, a trek for everyone, you have to stop by. You won’t be sorry.

Seoul Shinjung
3585 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 584-1103

Seoul Shinjung on Urbanspoon

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White Oak Kitchen + Cocktails

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

I have been a huge fan of Chef Josh Hopkins ever since he showcased his talent at the Leap Year Dinner at One Eared Stag last year. Soon after that, he took the helm at STG Trattoria where he continued to amaze people with dishes such as pork chops with sweet potato puree, fried quail, homemade pastas, and braised octopus, to name a few. In January, he announced his departure at STG which saddened me but was relieved to find out he was just moving downtown and in to WOKC.

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC is in downtown. That means you have to park at the many street parking lots or pay a hefty price at nearby hotel parking decks. Or, you can use their complimentary valet parking. I love valet. It’s convenient and quick, not to mention safe — I don’t have to walk in dim alleys and fear for my life to get to where my car is. Let me also mention that the place is really nice. It’s so modern and with amazing views of downtown. I don’t really care much about ambiance and decor, and if you notice from this blog, I eat mostly cheap (but good) food from hole-in-a-wall places. Fancy eating from this country girl doesn’t happen too often.

WOKC (Downtown)
homemade sweet muffins with soft butter and apple syrup (aka wow)

I’m not gonna lie — I came in with high expectations. After all, this is Josh Hopkins we’re talking about. STG is one of my favorite places to eat because of him. So, armed with my one month’s paycheck, my sister and a very good old friend took a page from my eating playbook and ordered (almost) the entire menu. Let me just tell you it’s one of the best meals ever. Food was super fantastic.

WOKC (Downtown)

We started with five appetizers. Naturally, we had to have the pork belly. It had crispy skin, tender, juicy, and tasty meat, and came with these small squares of sage stuffing. There’s a lot of good pork belly in our city but this one tops them all. Maybe because the pork was made to stand out. It didn’t have any distractions like some apple or fruit stuff or sweet accompaniment to it.

WOKC (Downtown)

The fried oysters were another winner. I don’t like huge oysters that take two bites to eat. These were bite-sized Apalachicola ones that were lightly dusted with corn meal then fried golden. But what’s interesting is the savory bread pudding and corn milk the oysters were sitting on. It’s like getting a bite of soft bread dipped in sweetish sauce. It’s so good it would make a great main dish if they super-sized it.

WOKC (Downtown)

The deviled eggs were not the boring ones you see everywhere else. The yolks were whipped creamy with bacon and then there’s this crispy tomato skin on top and minced pork rind. You get this flavor and texture explosion in your mouth.

WOKC (Downtown)

Ever had savory grits? Flavorful grits plus mushrooms, lentils, and porcinis. So good.

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

One thing you shouldn’t miss is the charcuterie plate. It’s a huge serving and if you consider everything on this plate, it’s really a steal at $15. Everything was fantastic on this plate: there’s homemade sausages, paté, different kinds of mustard, cured meats, grilled housemade brioche bread, a rillette of chicken innards, and the best part: bacon marmalade. Bacon marmalade! Don’t miss this one.

WOKC (Downtown)

I love pimento cheese. Growing up, my mom made hers from scratch, dicing fresh red pimentos and grating sharp cheddar and American cheeses. She’d make pimento cheese sandwiches and feed them to us as an after-school snack. It’s comfort food and I have to get it whenever it’s on any menu. Here, the pimento cheese is sandwiched between a stack of fried green tomatoes making it a real southern fare. The cheese is creamy and smooth just like I want it. There’s also this homemade strawberry jam that balanced the saltiness of the cheese. It’s a real good appetizer.

WOKC (Downtown)

We ordered four main entrees and stayed away from other ubiquitous items such as the steak and the fried chicken. Like I said, everything I ate here was fantastic. But the one that stood out the most was the duck. This, by far, is the best roasted duck in the city. There are so many elements that make a good dish: taste, texture, ingredients, execution, and smell. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to make ingredients and textures combine well with each other, even if it was executed correctly. Most times, chefs fail to realize that some ingredients don’t play well with each other. I usually consider a dish as very good if 4 out of 5 of those elements are present. It becomes awesome when a dish hits all 5. Well, this one hit it out of the park. The duck was juicy and tender and the skin had a light crisp and a tinge of sweetness. It came with this mashed sweet potato wrapped in bacon! Seriously, get this!

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

The other entrees were equally amazing. I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives. I mean, how many more times can I use amazing, awesome, delicious, fantastic. So, you get the idea. I liked the braised short rib because it was peppery and savory. There’s also horseradish that gave the dish a slight spicy kick. The lamb t-bone was not gamey at all. And the grouper? Light and refreshing. You can taste the sweetness (as in freshness) of the fish. I love that the dishes here don’t have heavy sauces. The proteins are already considerable in serving sizes so I’m glad that accompanying ingredients and sauces were chosen to be light and not overpowering.

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

WOKC (Downtown)

You all know by now that I’m not a dessert fan. But my sister is. She got this Bread Pudding and Three Jars. I don’t remember what was in the three jars but she said everything was good.

Anyway, we had a fantastic meal — the food was unbelievable and the service was impeccable. This is my new favorite restaurant. Go now! That is all.

White Oak Kitchen + Cocktails
270 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 524-7200

White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails on Urbanspoon

Korea Garden (Buford Highway)

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Just a quick post about this new addition to our Korean dining scene. This one opened a few months ago right before winter and sits next door to Cafe Mozart. It used to be First China restaurant. The menu is extensive and includes almost all mainstream Korean dishes.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

I’ve been here a few times. Banchan is good: tasty, fresh, good selection. Dumplings are your regular frozen then fried variety. But at $4.95 per order of five huge ones, it’s a great deal. The soy-sesame dipping sauce is wonderful, however.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Soups are okay. They’re a little on the thin side but will do in a pinch. They do come in bigger-than-usual and bigger-than-everywhere bowls. The bbq meats are pretty solid. Rice dishes are decent.

I’m grateful we have another place to add to our pool of Korean restaurants to choose from. Prices are on the cheaper side, too, so you can hit it several times a week.

Korea Garden
5295 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 558-2282

Korea Garden on Urbanspoon

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Yumazing! v.2

Ok folks, in honor of this blog’s 6th birthday today, I’m going to add to the Yumazing series — things I’ve been eating (which you need to try) from places I regularly visit. Here we go.

Chicken Fingers

Houston’s Chicken Fingers
If you grew up in Atlanta like me, then you have surely eaten at Houston’s when you were a kid. They happen to call themselves Hillstone these days. But whatever. Their menu hasn’t changed much and you can still get the famous Chicken Fingers. But wait. These aren’t your everyday chicken fingers. These juicy, tender chicken fillets have a light tempura-like batter. You know, just go. By the way, it’s not on the menu so you need to ask for it.

Kimchi Rice

Dan Moo Ji Kimchi Fried Rice
One of the things to eat that can make you weak in the knees. Yes, Virginia, it’s that good. You see, this is the best Kimchi Fried Rice in the city. It tastes perfect and get this: it comes topped with masago! A side of creamy corn salad completes this amazing dish. I’m gonna tell you again… GO!

Flying Biscuit

Flying Biscuit Turkey Brisket
You read it right. Turkey Brisket. Oh my god is all I can say. Oh, and you won’t even notice it’s turkey.

Chung Dam

Chung Dam Beef Fried Rice with Egg
Fried rice and egg. What could be a better combination? The smoky fried rice with bulgogi pieces comes topped with a fried egg. Two if you want. But. Like the chicken fingers at Houston’s, you have to ask!

Pork Belly

Bo Bo Garden Pork Belly with Pickled Mustard
Nothing says delicious than thick slices of buttery pork belly stewed for hours in soy-based sauce. Don’t worry about the pickled mustard, you won’t even notice. A classic Cantonese dish. You owe it to yourself to try it.

Ming's

Ming’s BBQ
I grew up eating at Ming’s on BuHi. Their sister location in Duluth is bigger, nicer, cleaner. Get any of the BBQ meats — roast duck, roast pork, crispy pork, roast chicken — wonderful all around.

Fried Bread

Captain D’s Fried Bread
Ok, it’s fast food. But so? I’m an equal opportunity eater. Besides. They had me at Fried Bread.

Tomo

Tomo’s Bread Pudding
Because I’m a breadgetarian. And their pudding has the consistency and texture of a flan. You gotta taste this piece of heaven to believe it.

Sweet corn pancakes

West Egg Sweet Corn Pancakes
If it’s on the menu, GET IT. Sweet corn in a pancake. That is all.

Seafood Noodles

What The Pho Crispy Seafood Noodles
One of the best versions in the city. The crispy noodles turn soft as they bathe in gravy. Fresh seafood and decoration veggies give it a crunch and a punch. Don’t take my word for it. Get going.

There you go. You now have quite a list of things to try! You can thank me later :D

BHFM Food Court

At last, the long-awaited food court finally opened earlier this year. I had high hopes, thinking it would be as awesome as the one in Your Dekalb Farmers Market or Great Wall in Duluth or Assi Plaza in both Duluth and Suwannee or even Super H. But, alas, such is not the case here.

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

The food court is in its early stages. I see considerable space for expansion where other stalls can be rented out. For now, there are only three spots to eat from. The main one is the cafeteria-style food stall. They have Eastern European dishes as well as Korean, Southern, Indian, and Hispanic. The food is ok. They’re not as delicious as YDFM where every single item is amazing. It’s just passable here.

One of the stalls is the Delimanjoo joint. It’s those yummy creme-filled tiny doughnuts baked in the premises. It was a mainstay from the snack bar that was around since the market opened. These has been my favorite for many, many years. (Sorry, no photo.)

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

The other stall is a Creperie. They’re exactly like the ones on the streets in Europe. They have both sweet and savory flavors.

Food Court at BHFM

Everything here is take-out only. There’s a huge eating area right outside the cashier stand if you want to eat before you leave. The cafeteria food is sold by weight. The other stalls sell per item. Be careful with the amount of your selection. My tiny lunch, crepe, and a bottle of soda came to close to $20. That’s highway robbery! You could go to a nice sit-down meal at a nice restaurant for less than that. Consider yourselves warned.

Food Court at Buford Highway Farmers Market (BHFM)
5600 Buford Highway NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 455-0770

Food Court at BHFM on Urbanspoon

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