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The course was broken out in 4 main parts: various appetizers, meats, side dishes, and dessert. The appetizers came out first and featured Seaweed Porridge, a common starter to "get the stomach ready" and a Seasonal Salad. Next came sushi-looking Vegetable Wraps, Sauteed Mushrooms with Sweet Potato Noodles (chap chae), and Parboiled Mixed Seafood with lovely shrimp and octopus mixed with cucumber and topped with a heaping of chopped garlic. It was presented in a delicate cucumber bowl, which I happily ate. Next, we ate Pan Fried Vegetables - one was lotus root and the other a mixed "cake' of mushrooms, onions, and carrots. These were served with a simple soy sauce for dipping.
As a segue, we were presented with the Fermented Skate with Pork and Kimchi. Keith was much more adventurous than me and eagerly tackled the delicacy. He was instructed to first layer kimchi, top with skate, then pork, spread some of the shrimp on top, add more kimchi, then top with lettuce and eat all in one bite (see full platter in the pictures below). He said the skate wasn't that bad, but there was a strong chemical aftertaste that really "bombed" his mouth. The pork was a bit funky too. After his second portion he warned me that I probably wouldn't like it as the fermentation was very overpowering. So I decided to sit that course out as much more food was to come.
kalbi he is used to. My favorite was the simple plate of Boiled Shrimp and Abalone. I am not sure I have ever eaten abalone before and I was surprised by how large this sea mollusk is. The server actually pre-cut the abalone into pieces with scissors at the table for us. I wish I took of picture of the empty shell as it revealed the pretty opalescent "mother of pearl" design. Then we were presented with a steaming hot bowl of Oyster Stew served table side. The broth was light and full of vegetables and a bountiful of oysters. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't already pretty full from all the food so far.
As if that wasn't enough, our next course of "side dishes" arrived. More hot soup in the form of Boiled Kimchi Stew, Spicy Skate that was too cartilaginous for me, and a spread of various pickled vegetables and seafood known as Banchan with a whole Broiled Fish. Too much food! We were also running late for a show we had tickets to see, so we rushed through this course, pressed the wonderful buzzer (we really need to implement this is America!), and asked for them to quickly bring dessert and the check. Dessert was simple hot tea and a mixture of delicate Korean Rice Cake.
All in all, we had an impressive meal at Jaella-Do and it was refreshing to try a different regional cuisine. Fermented skate ranks at the top of the list as one of the oddest things we've eaten.
Total Rating: 3.8
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 4
What I ate:
Seaweed Porridge, Seasonal Salad,
Sauteed Mushrooms with Sweet Potato Noodles, Parboiled Mixed Seafood
Pan Fried Vegetables
Broiled Eel, Steamed Ray,
Steamed Beef Ribs with Korean Medicine Sauce, Boiled Shrimp and Abalone
Boiled Kimchi Stew, Spicy Skate,
Banchan with Broiled Fish
Korean Rice Cake
Plus Keith ate:
Fermented Skate with Pork and Kimchi