Jin Joo Korean Grill is a modern Korean barbecue restaurant that serves an interesting mix of classic and innovative dishes. This restaurant is famous for their 8-flavored samgyeopsal including curry, herb, honey garlic, peanut, red pepper, smoky barbecue, soybean, and wine. Many of my friends gave recent positive reviews on their dining experiences at Jin Joo’s branch in Eastwood near our office.
So when I saw a promotion on Metrodeal, which by the way was immediately sold out a few days after, I quickly grabbed the chance and bought a voucher with the advantage of getting “a sumptuous samgyeopsal grill and unlimited side dishes for P149 per person instead of P470.” The promotion, however, was limited to one person per table only.
Following the promotion detail instructions, I made a reservation a week prior to coming. A day before, I called once more to confirm our booking and learned that senior citizen and PWD discounts cannot be used in conjunction with the promo. Since we have 5 senior citizens and 1 PWD with us, I didn’t bother anymore to present the voucher since the discounts would have a higher value to be slashed off our bill. Also, instead of availing of their unlimited samgyeopsal, we chose to order a la carte entrees as there’s plenty of interesting and exciting items on the menu to choose from.
We dined at Jin Joo Korean Grill at The Podium with our family for the joint birthday celebration of my husband and me. 🙂
Review of Jin Joo Korean Grill (The Podium, Ortigas, Mandaluyong)
The restaurant’s brightly lit interior is mainly comprised of wood elements, contrasted by Instagram-worthy accent walls and pastel-colored chairs that exude a homey vibe. Basically, Jin Joo is for the most part a Korean barbecue spot that offers all-you-can-eat samgyeupsal (as a promotion), grill-your-own meat, along with a few add-on sides, in a welcoming, contemporary dinner locale with cooktop tables.
At the peak of lunch time, the restaurant looked reliably busy, buzzing with the full-throttle energy of friends and families chowing and imbibing in cheery excess. Good thing I had reserved large tables for our party of 15 people. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten free tables at all.
The menu places emphasis on different flavors and types of samgyeopsal, so it’s a good sign not to miss it. Each of us had a generous slab of Samgyeopsal (PhP 390). An order already includes “banchan” or Korean fixings, such as kimchi, seasoned sweet potatoes, stuffed cucumber kimchi, seaweeds, stir-fried dried anchovies, bean sprouts, etc. and a bottomless basket of leafy green lettuce.
The staff facilitated the cooking and helped us cut the pork into bite-size pieces. And at just the right juncture, when the pork has been cooked to an irresistible crispiness, we dove right in and began eating. Each piece of meat had a good amount of lingering juiciness. However, when paired with either lettuce or the glistening fluffy rice, the grilled pork belly wasn’t fully impressive, especially when it’s not dipped into the soy bean paste and sesame oil. Perhaps it’s because it was only rubbed with salt and pepper.
Expecting a bit more than the plain and simple mainstay samgyeopsal, we ordered what’s supposedly their best offering, Jin Joo’s 8 Flavours (PhP 1560), for bolder flavors of marinated meat. It offered the familiar comforts of Korean grilled pork belly but with more exciting flavors and aromas. This is great to share with a group of 3-4 people. Imagine intense porkiness with various spices, with some parts of pork enveloped with fat. Yum!
Beef Bulgogi (PhP 390) was a winner for the mouth and the eyes. It came as a fusion dish of fried shrimp, vegetables, sweet corn, and Korean spicy bbq sauce. The thinly sliced beef were tender, juicy, and slightly sweet and salty.
Dolsot Beef Bibimbap (PhP 400) also came with beautifully arranged vegetables, mushrooms, fried tofu, and Korean spicy bbq sauce, all topped with fried egg cooked just right. The flavors were enough to please our palate. Mixed with rice, this dish can be addictive and very filling. On a hot pot, it was hot indeed from the first to our last bite.
Japchae (PhP 350) was one of our best-loved dishes. It came with a light and refreshing taste, made with sweet potato noodles, beef strips, assorted vegetables, and sesame oil. The stir-fried glass noodles had a bouncy texture, and the sauce was sweet and savory.
If you’re into spicy food, Jin Joo’s Fire Chicken with Cheese (PhP 890) is a must-try. It was served on a cheese fondue dish in a large cast-iron plate of barbecue-glazed fire chicken with sticky Korean rice cakes (tteokbokki), onions, sweet potatoes, and lots of shredded mozzarella and cheddar.
The staff helped us cook the dish on our table, and we saw how the cheese melted into a delicious golden lava. How can you say not to a generous amount of melted cheese on top of spicy caramelized chicken chunks? It’s like comfort food taken to a whole new level!
Jin Joo Korean Grill isn’t vegetarian-friendly. For my dad who’s a vegetarian, we ordered Hameul-Pajeon (PhP 380) but we asked for the assorted seafood ingredients to be removed. It turned out to be a plain pan-fried spring onions pancake with special dipping sauce. We’re glad they accommodated our request even when it wasn’t on the menu specifically.
Price for Value:
Order your heart out at Jin Joo Korean Grill at The Podium where a dazzling variety of Korean food awaits. It’s not the cheapest and prices could use some sprucing up, but for decent samgyeupsal and tasty banchan without having to travel to Korea, it’s the place to go. Call ahead to reserve and brace for variable service depending on the crowd.