The COVID-19 pandemic caused its fair share of restaurant casualties. Among the many businesses which succumbed to the lockdown was GaNaDaRa, a popular Korean eatery in the Concordia University area. Easily one of my favourite cheap spots in town, I would greatly miss their hearty bowls of ramyun soup, bibimbap and dupbap, among others.
My disappointment would turn to intrigue a few months later when I spotted another Asian eatery's logo at the same address along my jogging route. GaNaDaRa's successor, JaKo, would eventually open in November of last year. Tonight, I decided to check it out by ordering takeout, hoping it would strike the same chord its predecessor did with me.
The name JaKo is an amalgam of the first syllables in each of Japanese and Korean, which is precisely what this eatery serves. The menu lists specialties from each of the two cuisines separately, with a handful of dishes combining elements from both – think bulgogi yaki udon. Bite-sized appetizers – dumplings, fried chicken, rice cakes – are followed by a wide variety of soup, noodle and rice bowls.
Winners included tteok kkochi (fried rice cake fingers), which were soft, chewy and abundantly brushed with a sweet/spicy gochujang sauce. An udon noodle soup was savoury, comforting and much appreciated with the turning weather. Less successful was a chicken katsu (panko-breaded chicken cutlet), which was totally dry and barely passable. The rest – rice and noodle bowls – landed somewhere in between: decent and satisfactory.
"japanese fried chicken"
"deep fried rice cake"
"rice bowl with thinly sliced beef brisket & crimini mushroom, served with miso soup"
"sizzling hot stone bowl with marinated beef sirloin, korean vermicelli & fried egg"
"japanese breaded cutlet with cabbage salad, curry sauce & crimini mushroom"
"japanese noodle soup with shrimp tempura, korokke & soft-boiled egg"
"Japanese stir-fried noodles with marinated beef sirloin & garlic mayo"
tagged: GOOD FOR SHARING
While JaKo is keeping GaNaDaRa's spirit alive by blessing Shaughnessy Village with Korean food plus a Japanese twist, it did not resonate as much with me. The dining room was packed during my brief stop, which signifies this joint is popular with the Concordia student body. Myself, I may need to see and taste some more before being swayed.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $18.90
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.