A little background: Jinjuu, meaning ‘pearl’, is founded by celebrity chef Judy Joo. Located in the iconic, newly built California Tower, Jinjuu seamlessly merges traditional and contemporary styles of cuisine and design, aims to give the guests an unique Korean dining experience.
My visit: Despite all the bad reviews, I still wanted to check out Jinjuu as I watched owner /chef patron Judy Joo judge two seasons of The next Iron Chef and crown my favorite Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian.
The food was nothing less than interesting. We got the signature Korean fried chicken which was cooked beautifully with nicely crisped skin but the bold spicing I expected from the sauce was a timid background flavor instead. Plus we were given two of the same sauces rather two different ones as seen all over instagram.
The kimchi bibimbap was unexciting but I liked the crispy bits at the bottom. The bulgogi wagyu beef sliders were okay – thought they would be better than they were. The mandoo beef and pork dumplings would be my favorite dish of the night. If I was too be fussy, the pastry could be thinner. The sauce that was served with it was great – loved the acidity.
For desserts, we ordered the fried apple mandoo pie which came in a cute presentation but the dough was slightly undecooked. However, the Snickers hotteok was a guilty pleasure with a doughnut stuffed with salted caramel, roasted peanuts, peanut parfait, chocolate ganache, praline and Nutella powder.
Verdict: Overall, too many of the dishes fell short. I definitely expected more creativity from the menu based on Judy Joo’s resume. Also the music was way too loud – I would not recommended dining here for quiet eating or dates.
UG, California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Central
852 3755 4868