Restaurant review: Chogajib

This was my last night of my vacation.  My cousin decided to take me to a new Korean restaurant that he had noticed. Chogajib Korean Restaurant is a modest place in a small strip mall in the Ala Moana neighborhood, near Wal-Mart.

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We started with a selection of complimentary appetizers.
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This included cabbage kimchi (top right), kkakdugi (bottom right), marinated white onions (bottom left), and (I believe) Yangbaechu Moochim (top left).  Personally, Im not fond of the flavor of kimchi.  So the cabbage and the dice radish did nothing for me.  I thought the Yangbaechu Moochin (shredded raw cabbage with dressing was pretty good.  The dressing has an interesting mix of sweet, spicy and salty going.

Once the dishes started coming, they came very quickly.  First was the tofu soup with seafood
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This is a savory soup filled with soft tofu, shrimp, clams, squid and scallops, garnished with scallions.

We erred and neglected to stir this soup before eating it.  Subsequently the soup tasted very bland at the start, and very salty when we reached the bottom. If we had, it probably would have been a much more enjoyable dish.
Next came the japchae.
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This is boiled sweet potatoe thread noodles, stir fried with shredded carrots, scallions, dried mushroom slivers, thin threads of beef, garlic, soy and sesame oil.  This was really good.  The noodles had a tremendous amount of flavor. One of the best examples of japchae I’d ever tasted.

Next we have the seafood jun
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This is kinda like a savory pannekoek, filled with shredded carrots, slivered onions, scallions and squid.  This was pretty good. Savory with just a hint of sweetness, although I was expecting more than just squid in there.  If there was any seafood other than squid, it was too sparse to notice.

And one of the highlight dishes was the hot iron skillet of kalbi
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This is beef short rib, sliced thin across the rib bone, marinated in soy, sugar, garlic and other seasonings.  It’s grilled, and served with sautéed onions.  This was really good.  The beef was tender, and rich with flavor.

The room was clean, and somewhat utilitarian.  Nothing fancy here.  Although this was a “new” restaurant, it had the feel of a neighborhood restaurant that had been there for generations.  Meaning that, it probably could use a refreshed decor.

The service was actually pretty good as asian restaurants go.  The server gets points for trying quite hard to help and to guide us through the menu, which is pretty significant given that there was a bit of a language barrier.

At the time of this writing, Chogajib did not have a urbanspoon entry.
It’s located in a small strip mall at 825 Keeaumoku Street, in Honolulu, across from the Hawaii Medical Service Association building. Phone: (808) 744-3440

Chogajib Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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