First, I must apologize for the long break. It was Christmas season and a lot was going on.
I was also looking for a restaurant deserving of a review and oh did I find it!
Mookyodong Nakji is pretty far north if you consider finch to be the tip of K-town. However it's close to a few other notable places like 돼지야돼지야 and 불닭본가. A short drive from steeles and you'll see it in a random plaza on the right.
My girlfriend saw it and so we decided to give it a try. I haven't had Nakji since I came back from Korea a year and a half ago. It was definitely going to be good.
Inside there isn't much of a difference with the decor of other restaurants. A white wall and ceiling open this space and make it look large, while at the same time dark wood tables and leather chairs give groups a more intimate feel. The booths lined against the wall give even more privacy. The long bench on the opposite side is not padded and can be used to put together tables for large groups.
What caught my eye when ordering was the large printed wall paper in front of the kitchen. It must have took some money to make that but it works. If you don't know what to order, take a quick glance and an enlarged 냉면 or bibimbap will welcome you. I was particularly impressed with the soju fridge. From the dining tables you can only see the side and can't see the door or it's contents. They got creative and printed a wall of soju bottles and applied it to the fridge so you know it's stocked with soju. Makes it even more delicious staring at oversized soju bottles.
We ordered 낙삼철판 which is basically octopus, pork, and vegetables on a hot pan. As we waited for the food I noticed the side dishes were served on nice plates. Higher quality than a lot of the other places so I knew the food had to be good. They kept with the dark brown theme and so everything blended in with the table. There were quite a few side dishes and a notable one was the 된장김치. It's pretty much kimchi but they used soy beans instead. They also had white kimchi, which isn't spicy at all, and 파전.
The food comes raw so you'll have to wait for it to cook. If you don't know what you're doing they'll do it for you. The pork looked like it was marinated for ages while the octopus looked disgustingly and amazingly fresh. The waitress turned on the heat and we nibbled on the side dishes.
After a short wait the once fresh ingredients turned into a sea of hot red spicy goodness all mashed together. If the picture isn't enough for you let me describe. There was hot rice cake, onion, soybeans, glass noodles, cabbage, zucchini, fish cake, pork and octopus in one dish. I'm salivating just looking at it again.
The food was ready, and so we opened up our rice bowl to some steaming purple sticky rice that had been waiting for us. Took a bit of the food from the hot plate, took a bit of rice and shoved it all into our mouth. That was delicious. Although it looks super spicy, it's a little sweet as well. It was the kind of spicy you have when you eat kimchi stew or rice cake떡볶이, while the sweet tasted like the sauce used for bulggogi. Spicy and sweet, what a perfect combination.
The waitress told us to not eat all the rice because she'd have to make 볶음 out of it later. It was so hard not to finish it because the food now was just that good. With a little self control and wishful thinking I was able to leave a bit of rice. I was only able to do this by imagining how much better the food was going to get. I guess it wasn't enough because she had to take out some of the left over from the hot plate.
The waitress came over and made fried rice with seaweed, and if you know me, I love dry seaweed. This was amazing, it was like having two dinners. I got to eat 낙삼철판 and fried rice! I demolished the side dishes and the fried rice.
At the end of the dinner I saw the coffee machine. It's hard to come by these days. I know it's instant coffee but there's something about it coming out of a machine that makes it super tasty. It's also free. I got myself a cup, took this last picture and headed out the door. Then took another last picture since I forgot to get the restaurant name.