Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Awhile back, I came upon a blog post from Food GPS about Chin Go Gae, a restaurant that is known for its black goat. With my love for Korean restaurants that prepare and/or serve their food tableside like the spicy chicken at Ma Po Dak Gal Bi or the spicy crab soup at Ondal 2, I knew I was going to make my way there some day, I just didn't realize it was going to take a couple of years. It wasn't until I recently came upon another post about this restaurant by the Right Way to Eat that I decided that it was finally time to check Chin Go Gae out.
One thing that had me really grateful to both blog posts was seeing their photos of the restaurant sign. The sign itself was in Korean characters with the words "Korean Restaurant" in English. Even though the street number was next to the door, I may not have noticed it and have gotten myself in a tizzy looking for a "Chin Go Gae" restaurant sign. Thankfully, I knew what I was looking for.
Even before the rest of my party arrived, the panchan already hit our table. I didn't find anything really special about any of them, but regardless, I'm always a big fan of kimchi and seaweed.
For the table, I ordered both the Yeum So Moo Chim and Yeum So Tang, which are two different preparations of the Korean black goat, which is a goat that is indigenous to Korea. Before either dish arrived, our server poured a toasted sesame seed mixture into each of our bowls of chili paste, which by the way, wasn't very spicy.
When the Yeum So Moo Chim arrived, we were instructed to use this sesame seed and chili paste mix as a dipping sauce for this dish. The Yeum So Moo Chim is basically the Korean Black Goat stir-fried with Korean sesame leaves (kkaennip), a dash of chili, garlic, red pepper and sesame seeds.
When it came to the goat, it had a slight gamey taste to it, but I enjoyed it plus it was quite tender to boot. What threw me off was that I kept on tasting anise and I don't like anise or licorice. Everyone at our table was trying to figure out where that anise flavoring was coming from and finally, someone exclaimed, "It's that hairy leaf." After a giggle, it turned out that those hairy leaves were the sesame leaves in the dish. Suffice to say, once I started picking off those "hairy leaves", I enjoyed the dish a bit more.
After finishing off the Yeum Soo Moo Chim, the Yeum So Tang arrived. The Yeum So Tang is basically the Yeum Soo Moo Chim in a soup form, which meant that the dreaded sesame leaves were again making an appearance. Somehow the broth diluted the anise flavoring of those sesame leaves and yet, it still retained some of the rich flavoring of the goat. However, I would have liked a spicier broth and unfortunately, they didn't have any spicy chili paste so that I could doctor the soup more. Having said that, I still like this dish better than the stir-fried black goat dish we had earlier.
To end our meal, we were served Fried Rice with greens that also utilized the left over goat infused broth from the Yeum So Tang. Unfortunately, they prepared it in the kitchen when I would have loved to see them prepare it tableside, but I'm sure they had their reasons. As for the rice, I liked it, but like the Yeum So Tang, I would have liked more of a spicy kick to it.
In the end, Chin Go Gae is not a return destination for me. The food was well prepared and our server was both helpful and attentive, but those sesame leaves just aren't for me and in general, I like my Korean food with much more heat than what I experienced at Chin Go Gae.
Chin Go Gae
3063 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005