Sunday, July 11, 2021

Tasting Menu at Jua (food)

It's been over 2 years since I last ate at a Michelin starred restaurant. Ever since NYC has reopened, reservations have been hard to get everywhere. It wasn't my first choice, but it was a Michelin starred restaurant with availability on relatively short notice (only a week out), so I went for it. This is the $120 tasting menu at Jua, a modern Korean tasting menu restaurant focused on wood-fired dishes.
CAVIAR KIM This was a good, very appetizing starter, with crisp seaweed and light saltiness from the caviar. The caviar wasn't particularly special though, and I would have preferred if the caviar had provided more of a textural component.
TOMATO & TUNA Tuna tartare with tomato and burrata was tasty but I felt overall it was one-note.
JOOK Probably the most memorable dish of the night for me, a porridge with koshihikari rice and foie, with the melted foie providing all the creaminess as no cream was used otherwise. I would also have preferred if they served this as the last course of the tasting and arranged the progression accordingly.
ARCTIC CHAR Nicely cooked piece of arctic char with crispy skin and green sauce made with fish bones. Wish there was more sauce though, as arctic char is a relatively mild flavored fish, and the sauce was quite nice.
GALBI & CHAN Chan here stands for banchan, the Korean side dishes. Overall, this was another delicious dish, although one of my pieces of galbi did have unchewable sinew. The problem here is that in the end, galbi is galbi and generally tastes good everywhere. It's the same complaint that I usually have about pork belly. Delicious, but nothing special. The banchan were nice accents, and the green sauce went especially well with the beef, despite being too herby by itself.
GREEN TEA BINGSU Green tea shaved ice with some red bean filling underneath.
HOTTEOK Well executed Korean dessert pancake, not too sweet and went well with the bingsu. 

If it seems like I didn't write much about the food, that's because there wasn't much to write about. I don't know if it's a covid19 effect, but I just did not feel this was a $120 tasting menu. Maybe $95? Seven named courses and two of them were dessert and one of them was fucking shaved ice. You WILL leave here hungry. The food was delicious but at the level that I last remembered NYC dining, it didn't stand out. Yes, it had the modern Korean thing which is super hot right now, but Jungsik this was not (although I understand it's half the price). Then again, even Atoboy this was not. While even Atoboy's prix fixe has climbed in cost, it's still cheaper than this even if you do the add-on, and every meal I've had at Atoboy was more memorable than this. Again, I don't want to downplay that this was in the end a delicious meal, but very little in the way of value and I would also not consider it Michelin-quality, although 1 stars in NYC have always been pretty random.

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