Meok Ja Gol (MJG) – Hole-in-the-Wall Korean Restaurant
Meok Ja Gol (or MJG as it is sometimes called) is the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You can see the back of the restaurant from Kingsway, next to a gas station. The actual main entrance is on Newton Street, next to a “massage parlor”.
Inside the restaurant is very typical of many Korean restaurants but it is somewhat dark since there are no windows. On one side of the restaurant is a large mural depicting an outdoor scene which is meant to make the cramped interior look more open.
We arrived a little early and the restaurant wasn’t busy at all so the service started out pretty good. The banchan included kimchi, potatoes, bean sprouts, pickled radish, and spicy cucumber.
We ordered the Dolsot Bibimbap – it was okay but not the best I’ve had. The rice on the bottom of the stone bowl had turned a little crispy but I don’t think the bowl was hot enough because it didn’t seem to turn all of the rice that it touched to a golden crisp. Also, I’m accustomed to the egg on the top being raw so it can cook against the hot stone bowl… this looked like they had slightly fried an egg and placed it on top of the rice (maybe they knew the bowl wasn’t going to be hot enough to cook the egg).
The Yaki Mandu (pan fried meat dumpling) as well was okay but not great. There was a slightly odd texture to the skin.
You don’t have to cook your own food… you can have them cook it for you in the kitchen like the Chicken Bulgoki (marinated bbq chicken).
As time went by, more customers started to come in and fill the restaurant. Since there was only one waitress, the service obviously got worse. For example, our Haemul Pajeon (or Assorted Seafood “Fancake” as the menu described it) was huge and tasty but our waitress forgot to bring us the dipping sauce that it usually comes with.
The seafood pancake was very tasty with plenty of seafood – this is really a dish that should be shared because it’s such a huge serving.
By the time we had finished our meal, the service went from bad to worse. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to finish all of the food so we flagged down the waitress to get our leftovers packed to-go. She smiled and and said “of course” and we never saw her again for about 10 minutes. We eventually managed to flag her down again and she apologized and took our leftovers to get packed… or so we thought… After what seemed like an eternity, our leftovers finally arrived back at our table.
Our problem now was trying to get our bill. We had to ask twice for our bill… and when they eventually came back to clean up our table, they tried to take away our bag of leftovers with the dirty dishes! I guess they really didn’t want us to take the food home. In total, it probably took us an extra 20-30 minutes after we finished our meal to get out of there. Fortunately, they had some Korean pop videos playing on the flat screen tvs like at Potter’s Garden to keep us entertained.
Food: 3.5 / 5
Service: 2 / 5
4992 Newton Street