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May 14, 2008 03:33 PM

Shin Chon (Ellicott City Korean BBQ) still open?

I've been trying to call Shin Chon in Ellicott City (where Lotte supermarket used to be) today to try to make a reservation for a big group we have going tomorrow night. They haven't been answering the phone all day and as I understand, they're supposed to be open all days of the week (so it's not as though they're closed Wednesdays).

Can anyone confirm if Shin Chon is currently open? Ellicott City is 45 minutes away from me, so it would be super embarrassing for me as the organizer if our group of 15 people gets out there tomorrow evening for dinner only to find they have closed for business.

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  1. Shin Chon has been closed for about a month and they are doing extensive renovations to the storefront location. Not sure if they are reopening there, if they plan on moving or if they are gone for good.

    21 Replies
    1. re: treetop tom

      Is there another Korean grill-in-table worthy place other than the three around MD and 21st?

      1. re: chowsearch

        tried a new place on rolling road right off of rt 40 behind the double T diner not too long ago and it was decent.

        there's always the good ol Goon Jeung in Glen Burnie if you are on that side of town also

        1. re: frequentcrasher

          There are two others in Ellicott City that I could recommend. MiRocJo and another with a Korean name that I am not familiar with (they don't spell out their name in English). MiRocJo is at 10194 Baltimore Natl Pike #111 Ellicott City, MD 21042-3655 Phone: (410) 461-2333. The other one is in the building next door (East side). Both do Korean BBQ fairly well. There are others as well; one in the same shopping center as Shannon's Saloon and one on Old Frederick Road - sorry I don't know their exact names. If you want to go into Baltimore, there are several. By the way - Shin Chon is opening again very soon in the same location.

          1. re: bkd566

            Friday, Shin Chon was a construction project that looked like they were putting in a regular store--what's going on with them?

            1. re: chowsearch


              I hope they reopen (not as a store). That was my go-to lunch spot. I'll report back if I go by Lotte soon.

              1. re: ingramcol

                In the same shopping center I noticed a "Korean Style" Chinese Place under construction, interesting...

            2. re: bkd566

              Helpful - are either or both of these "grill your own" at the tables types of places?

              I'm familiar with the Baltimore City options, but a large % of my group was new to Korean BBQ and the locations in the City I think were a bit too "hole in the wall" and would have been intimidating to them. (basic decor and language barrier are not as much of an issue for me).

              How would these 2 restaurants have fared on the intimidation factor for "non-Asians, new to Korean BBQ"?

              1. re: bluepig1

                We used to go to Shin Chon all the time, so it was weird to pull up for dinner one night and see it closed up. I called my mom for an alternative and she directed me to Wong Galbi near the Han Ah Reum of Rt. 40. Might be the one that frequentcrasher was talking about before? Anyway, we had a crowd with people not familiar with Korean BBQ, and everyone really enjoyed it. They offer grill combos so you can try a bunch of different kinds of meat, with banchan, soup, and family-style pot of rice (great with the crunchy bits at the end!!). They also have a full menu of non-BBQ Korean fare (w/pics :) Our group of seven had tons to eat for about $90.

                1111 N. Rolling Rd
                Catonsville, MD 21228


                1. re: choconut

                  Bumping this year-old thread to comment on my experience at Wong Gal bi today for lunch. They have a $9.95 AYCE bbq buffet lunch (I think all days of the week? There's a banner out front that says but I can't remember offhand now - just call first to confirm). It includes 5 types of meat but not galbi (short ribs) -- bulgogi beef, chicken, pork, squid, and pork belly, as well as a steam table of stir fried dishes (kind of random - beef & broccoli, moo goo gai pan, curried chicken, mixed veggies). If you want galbi in the AYCE, it's $19.95 a person instead (I assume that's the lunch as well as dinner price?) A few pan chan were available on the buffet as well, though they'll bring you the steamed savory egg custard/broth and spicy tofu/zucchini soup (the ones that come with usual panchan) to your table. There was an assortment of sushi (rolls, no nigiri) available but it didn't look particularly appetizing so I stayed away.

                  Overall - the bbq was only ok. The steam table items were downright disappointing -- lukewarm in temp (I'm pretty sure they would not have passed health inspection given the temperature) and rather bland in flavor. I prefer Shin Chon and Nam Kang - while I've had good luck at other Korean BBQ AYCE places, this was not one of them. I think the key to AYCE places is high turnover, and today probably wasn't a great example -- we were there around 1:30pm on a Sunday and there were only 3-4 other tables occupied. The quality of the ingredients and freshness of the food just seems better at Shin Chon, though perhaps it's not entirely fair to compare AYCE buffet quality vs order-off-the-menu quality.

                  Maybe I'll go back to Wong Galbi sometime and order off the menu... honestly, the dinner buffet might be just fine with adequate turnover, but I'm reluctant to go back and give them my $20 to find out.

              1. re: jeanki

                I enjoyed the delicious lunch buffet at Goong Jeon today. Any other chowhounds agree with me that Goong Jeon's lunch buffet is excellent?

                1. re: elgringoviejo

                  oh good i'm glad Goong Jeon is still open, it's a solid option

                  1. re: jeanki

                    Goong Jeon's lunch buffet is a real bargain. Nice Korean-style sushi, bulgogi, seafood, chicken, miso soup, kim chee, bean sprouts, spinach, and many other Korean delicacies. I really enjoy the Korean dish made with rice flour noodles, I believe it is called chap chae.

                        1. re: elgringoviejo

                          After extensive renovation, Shin Chon Garden is now open. They are back and is better than ever.

                          1. re: tndpm

                            their official opening is tonight. total overhaul, in-table grills, hoods over each.

                            1. re: tndpm

                              Cool!! Thanks for the update! I can't wait to go and check it out - I've been craving Korean BBQ for a while now.

                              1. re: bluepig1

                                We took friends from DC (newbie's to Kor BBQ) to Shin last weekend. Place is all brown corian now, but lots more grill tables, and the food and service still good, family friendly. Even though it was packed when we arrived, we were seated pretty quickly.

                                Didn't know about Wong Galbi, thanks choconut!!!

                                If you get a chance, try the rice donuts at the bakery in the Han Ah Rheum (front of store). Also there is a small lunch/dinner counter there with stone bowl Korean and Japanese food. NOt great comfortwise (you're basically sitting in the middle of the produce department) but good food and cheap.


                        2. re: elgringoviejo

                          I though Goong Jeon's buffet, at least on the weekend day that I was there, was absolutely miserable. Apparently they are a lunch stop for long bus trips, but they can't keep up. They had Jiang Mien sauce, but a large empty tray where the noodles should have been. People were basically eating broth and some of the pickled vegetables. Everything else was out, and the proprieter/host kept getting in a screaming match with the woman in the kitchen. No food was coming out. When a small amount of mandu appeared, there was nearly a fight to get at them.

                          But the most awkward situation was yet to come. The woman from the kitchen brought out a large tray of a fried chicken dish, looked around, and sat it on the edge of the buffet. It looked pretty good, but I wasn't sure about the placement. Well, several people went up to it, and filled up their plates. I followed suit...when in Rome (and scrounging for food as a paying customer) and all that...and it was definately the only thing there that day worth paying for. A few minutes later, the host shows back up, and then a man comes in the restaurant, gets into what sounds like an arguement with him, points at the chicken, then at the people eating. The loud conversation went on a few more minutes, then the man nods, the host hands him the partially eaten tray of food, and he leaves. Seriously, if not for what must have been a mix up, I would have probably had to eat somewhere else after leaving this buffet.

                          1. re: Jason1

                            I concur that Goong Jeon has executional and vibe issues. So do the 21st St. places at times. Nam Kang always seems friendly, as do Wong Gai Bi and the newly reopening Shin Chon. But I did ask about four entrees there and then received all four. It was like the Monty Python scene about "wafer thin."

            3. Shin Chon did extensive renovation and reopend in August. I went there in August and the taste was renovated, too: it's one of the best place to invite people for Korean BBQ.