Pdho and I have been on this Korean food stint lately, and without many recommendations, I find myself scouring Yelp for the highest rated restaurant which 95% of the time seems to be located somewhere along the Sunnyvale/Santa Clara stretch of El Camino. For the most part, I’ve been pretty pleased with most of the places so far. Sometimes, I do wonder if I’m just not as particular with Korean food, so my criticism never seems too harsh. Generally speaking, the food from SGD Tofu House and Choi’s Kitchen have all been pretty solid. Over and over again, everyone compliments the Korean food being the best without a doubt, and I do agree without a doubt. So when someone told me that Jang Su Jang reminded them the most of restaurants in LA’s K-Town, I had to give it a try. Somehow TUmmy was curious enough to try some Korean food that she willingly drove down almost 45 minutes to check out Jang Su Jang with us. Good job, TUmmy!
When you walk into the restaurant, you notice that fair number of the tables are set up with grills and hoods, allowing customers to BBQ at their tables. You don’t see many restaurants set up like this up here that’s for sure. We headed straight to the back and sat at a grill top table.
Soon after ordering, they rolled out a tray filled with numerous small plates of ban chan, a bunch of sides and condiments for the meal, and huge plate full of raw meat for grilling. TUmmy was telling us how usually Koreans kids start out liking the marinaded meats like Kalbi, but then as they grow older (and I assume their palates mature) she was saying they start to prefer non-marinaded meats. I had never heard that before. Personally, I love Kalbi! Hehe!
After we started grilling the non-marinaded beef, they brought out the LA Kalbi, Haemul Pajeon, and Kim Chee Soon Doo Boo. Admittedly, it sounds like an unseemly amount of food, but embarrassingly enough, Pdho and I usually order these same dishes for just the two of us. So we were so happy to have TUmmy join us and help us share in all the foodie fun. Generally speaking, the food was all pretty good. I’m not sure why they call it LA Kalbi, but it was well-seasoned and the meat was tender enough. The Soon Doo Boo was also pretty tasty, rich in spicy goodness. The Haemul Pajeon was still not as good as the one from Choi’s Kitchen, but it was okay probably a little thick as far as pancakes go though.
Overall, I was happy with the food, and the restaurant is nice, clean and pretty spacious compared to most off the other Bay Area restaurants I’ve been to. However, I’m not sure if this restaurant necessarily reminded me that much of the restaurants down in So Cal. Whether it was the food or decor, I would say it bore a faint resemblance to an LA restaurant… not that this means it’s a knock on Jang Su Jang. I think it’s just an unfair comparison considering the size and predominance of the Korean population in the Bay Area. I mean… NYC’s K-Town can’t even compete with LA. Haha! So comparisons aside, the food is pretty good, prices are higher than other restaurants in the area but nothing terribly unreasonable. In my opinion, it’s a good restaurant, but considering the line and wait that accompanies prime dining hours, the restaurant is probably tops for South Bay residents.
Jang Su Jang
3561 El Camino Real #10
Santa Clara, CA 95051
PAFO Ratings for Jang Su Jang:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars