Update: Jinji is now called GangNam
A couple months ago, a new restaurant joined the short list of Korean restaurants now open in Wichita. Jinji Korean Grill & Bar Review recently opened at 210 N. Washington right next door to Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill.
What sets Jinji apart from other Korean restaurants besides their full bar set up is the ability to cook your own food at the table. It’s a unique concept to Wichita that gives eaters a small grill at the center of their table to grill their own pieces of meat along with vegetables.
Inside the restaurant, you’ll find nine grill tables along with other seating with grills and a full size bar with a few televisions.
My friends and I had the opportunity to go check out Jinji Korean Bar and Grill on a weekend afternoon. Before going, one of my friends read the reviews on Yelp; many of which weren’t too pleasing. Going into any review, we always take anything we read on sites like Yelp with a grain of salt and let the restaurant speak for themselves. Our goal going into Jinji was to try both the grill your own food option and menu items.
The menu says that if you sit at the grilling tables, each person must order one item off of the BBQ portion of the menu. Our server said they’ve been pretty lax on that review lately which makes sense; not everybody may want to do that. He said we could do just one or two grilling items if we wanted. We decided to go with the Bulgogi (marinated sliced beef rib eye) and the Samgyeopsai (sliced pork belly).
After we ordered, our server turned on the grill at our table.
When you order off of the BBQ portion of the menu, you get sides with your meal which include steamed rice, fish cakes, pickled radish, seaweed, kimchi, among other items; all of which are unlimited.
For actual menu items, I went with the Galbi-Tang (soup, made primarily from beef short ribs along with stewing beef, daikon, onions and other ingredients for a long time). One friend went with the Yukgae-Jang (Spicy, soup-like, Made from shredded beef with scallions, onions, fiddelhead and egg drop). Another friend went with the Haemul Ppokum Udon (Udon noodle stir fried with various seafood) and a fourth went with the Bibimap (Served as a bowl of warm rice topped with various vegetables and your choice of beef or tofu and a fried egg. Mixed with spicy red pepper sauce).
Our server then brought out our Bulgogi and Pork Belly and gave us a quick explanation of how to grill it. It’s simple, you place the meat on the grill and cook it until it’s ready.
The Bulgogi by all accounts from every was tender and flavorful. One friend noted it was doused with a lot of sesame oil which 3 of 4 of us didn’t mind. The amount of meat we received along with the sides was more than enough for the four of us. The Pork Belly was well received by about half of the group. One friend said it didn’t seem to cook well on the grill. When cooked right, the pork belly tasted just like bacon. I liked it but the grill did have some issues cooking it well throughout. We received over 20 slices of Pork Belly to cook which was a great value to us.
As for the sides, two of us went to town on the Kimchi. I could eat that stuff for days. The pickled radish was liked by everybody as well. It had a very refreshing and cleansing taste in your mouth. The fish cakes were liked by none. Overall the side dishes were a fun little addition and helped immensely they were free to refill.
Ordering two items off of the BBQ menu is probably enough for four people. We were all starting to get full and then realized……………..we ordered off of the menu too.
|If you like seafood………|
My friend really liked the Haemul Ppokum Udon. The seafood included mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops. It was a good variety of different seafood which all added in their own unique flavor. I tried a bit of it and am always a huge fan of the thick Udon noodles. The sauce thrown on top of it all was a nice distinct bbq flavor that blended well with the rest of the meal.
My friend who ordered the Bibimap didn’t have much to say about his Bibimap except for it was really good. I think between the Pork Belly, the Bulgogi and the huge array of sides thrown at us, it was just a lot of food and by the time our other meals came out, he was just stuffed. When it comes to Bibimap though, you really can’t go wrong with it. It’s like ordering eggs at a breakfast restaurant.
The Galbi-Tang which I ordered was decent. The broth wasn’t anything really special; pretty basic. The daikon and onions weren’t my preference. The beef was pretty good and tasted as if they were just seasoned with salt and pepper. Overall, really not much to the soup. The BBQ items were stole the show for me.
The Yukgae-Jang was the highlight of the menu items though. If you like a good warm spicy soup, this is the way to go. My friend just loved his soup. He added in more sriracha to his soup to give it more bite. The egg drop and shredded beef were a nice blend and you could barely taste the fiddlehead. I gave this a go and felt the same; just a fantastic soup and something I’d order if I were to go again.
The positives were the service and the food. Our drinks were always filled up, our server helped us with anything we needed, and the food was great. All of the grill tables have systems above that keep the smoke away. We had no problems with food smells sticking to our clothes. My friend pointed out that on Yelp many reviewers said the food portions were so small. That was not the case in our visit. The one main negative we had on our visit was the server turned off the grill and didn’t completely turn it off all the way so some of the pork belly at the end had a gassy taste.
Jinji Korean Grill & Bar is a great option for any diner. It’d also be great for a date night, a group outing or someone looking for something different out there. All four of us who went gave this eight thumbs up since we fortunately still have both thumbs attached to our hands.
If you want to see some of the grilling in action, check out our Instagram page: www.instagram.com/wichitabyeb
Have you been? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
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