Jin's Fine Asian Dining Review
A Korean-Japanese dining hybrid is serving up authentic dishes with loads of tasty heat.
My husband, Eli, and I love Korean food, so we got excited when we saw the sign go up for Jin’s Fine Asian Cuisine on South Campbell (in a building that once housed Thai House, then Nipa Thai).
What kind of Asian food? “Maybe it’ll be Korean!” I said. The next time we drove by, the building had been painted with the words “Korean and Japanese.” Jackpot! We couldn’t wait to try it.
On our first visit to Jin’s Fine Asian Cuisine, we perused the menu of authentic Korean dishes, speckled with the occasional bit of Japanese fare (like donkatsu and teriyaki dishes).
A large group had arrived right before us, and our order was going to take a little longer than expected. So our server stopped by with a little treat to tide us over: jeon (a traditional Korean pancake). One bite of the jeon, and I felt like I was back in South Korea, where I visited a few years ago. It’s such a simple dish (a pancake with shredded potatoes, carrots and chives, held together with an eggy batter) but the combination has a very distinct taste to me. I loved it. Dipped in soy sauce, it brought back happy memories.
Eli ordered jaeyook with pork ($9). The tender meat is served in a rich and spicy gochujang sauce. Gochujang is a common Korean condiment. The fermented hot pepper paste is used alone or as an ingredient in sauces like the one we had at Jin’s. It was so good! The flavor profile of the sauce was complex and deep, a little sweet at the first touch of the tongue, but spicy and savory a moment later. We both agreed we’d be ordering it again in the future.
My dish was called bo keum ($13), and it was a sweet-and-spicy sauce (although quite a bit sweeter than Eli’s dish) over stir-fried octopus and vegetables. The octopus was pretty tender—not the chewy stuff you sometimes get. I snatched up just a little steamed white rice with every bite, and the octopus mixed with the nutty rice and the occasional crunch of carrots and onions was delicious.
Our dinner also came with a side of kimchi: A little bit of typical cabbage kimchi, and a little bit of our favorite radish kimchi. The flavor is similar to the kimchi you’re probably used to, but the radish kimchi has a crisp and crunchy texture. It was a lot of fun to eat to cool down between bites of our spicier entrées.
Although we didn’t taste any of the teriyaki dishes, our server did mention to us that the teriyaki sauce is a point of pride for the restaurant—they make their own, from scratch. I’m interested in trying it at lunch sometime, when the bento boxes run less than $10.