Joo Joo Korean
If you're looking for Korean food, look no further than the Olive Blvd. in Creve Coeur. Korean markets and restaurants have popped up in recent years, with some being better than others. Korean Cafe on the Chesterfield-side of Olive is one of those not-great places. It seems well received online, but I found it to be bland--something Korean food rarely is. Joo Joo Restaurant at Olive and FeeFee, however, is quite good. The restaurant is in the corner of the shopping center, occupying the space that held Shermie's Deli many moons ago. Compared to the other nearby Korean restaurants, Joo Joo's interior is pretty nice. The walls are a pale green, the tables and chairs are all new and the room dividers give each table a sense of privacy. The menu is large and varied, with vegetarian, seafood and meat options. There are also large cook-at-your-table Korean BBQ options, such as pork belly and marinated beef.
Some of the waitstaff speak better English than others, but I've never had any issues ordering or anything like that. After we placed our orders, our table was covered with a range of banchan, which are small complimentary dishes. We had sweet Azuki beans, seaweed, a few types of kimchi, pickled vegetables, rice cakes and marinated tofu.
Even though I knew we were getting all the banchan, I opted to get the Mul Mandu ($4.99) to start. The mul mandu are tiny steamed dumplings filled with what I believe was some sort of pork and vegetable mixture. I've had a lot of dumplings in my day and, unfortunately, these would be towards the bottom of the list. They really didn't taste like much. Bland dumplings make me very sad.
Thankfully, our mains were packed with flavor. My sister picked the Bi Bim Neng Myun ($9.99), spicy cold noodles with beef. Eating cold noodles is a bit strange, but the dish is a favorite of ours. The glass noodles are seasoned and tasty, and the chili sauce provides a fiery kick. I only was given a few bites before it was taken away from me, so I can't say much more.
I picked the Dak Kal Bi ($10.99), a favorite from my time in Singapore. Spicy marinated chicken is is stir fried with scallions, carrots, and onions and served with a side of rice. I love the heat and slight sweetness the chicken gets from the Korean chili paste (gochujang). This is about as unadventurous as you can go with Korean food, so if you're new to it, I recommend this. One thing they missed out on was not heating the cow-shaped hot plate. I love when the food comes out sizzling hot. Other favorites of mine from Joo Joo are the spicy stir fried octopus and the seafood and tofu soup.
Another dish I consistently order both at Joo Joo and back in Singapore is the Dolsot Bibimbap. It's a super hot (temperature) stone pot filled with a base of rice which is then topped off with beef or chicken, an assortment of cooked vegetables, a fried egg and some chili sauce. Mix that all together and let the rice get crispy along the sides...*drools*. Whether you're already a fan of Korean food or a newbie looking to try something different, Joo Joo is a great choice. Go with a group and get a range of dishes.
St. Louis, MO 63141