Jungsik: tasting menu or a la carte?
I'm going to be dining at Jungsik soon with one other person. Should we opt for the tasting menu or go a la carte? It looks like the price is similar either way (full orders of the octopus app, sea urchin rice, black bass, pork jowl, and jang dok dessert comes to $141 vs $151 tasting menu). Do the a la carte diners still get the amuses and petits fours that the tasting menu diners get? The tasting menu they have online seems to only have 1-2 dishes that overlap the a la carte.
If I do go a la carte, are there any favorites? It seems the ones I listed above are pretty popular. How are the portions? We're both guys who can eat, so I am assuming we would go with full size orders of everything.
Hopefully I'm making the right decision with Jungsik. Reviews on here have been mainly positive, so I am hopeful. My other choices were the tasting menu at Bouley and the kaiseki menu at Brushstroke.
There are several threads on Jungsik.
If it's your first time there, I recommend the tasting menu.
You still get to pick and choose dishes you want from each group. If I order ala carte I usually get mostly the smaller size dishes and share them, that way I can get to taste more things. I've gotten amuses when I've ordered ala carte but not sure if that is always the case. Pork Jowl dish is great, Kalbi dish also excellent, octopus great,,,,everything is excellent. Go with tasting menu.
The tasting menu online doesn't seem like I can choose. It's a bit strange that all the dishes that people talk about aren't on the tasting menu. I wonder if they took the old tasting menu items to make the a la carte menu and then made new creations for the tasting menu?
The tasting menu is 10 courses. Maybe they'll let me substitute the mushroom dish with the pork jowl or the uni rice.
The first time I dined at Jungsik I had ordered the tasting menu and asked to substitute the lobster for the crispy scale fish. There was a small surcharge, but definitely worth it. My sister and I loved the tasting menu.
The second time I dined at Jungsik, I went a la carte and was also very happy with it. Some dishes I order the full portion, and some I ordered the small portion. I did received amuse bouche and mignardises.
Agree with the others that for your first time, I highly recommend ordering the tasting menu, and asking them to substitute a dish. Service was excellent both times.
The whole menu changed quite a bit. They used to have the tasting menu based on those 5 columns and you choose one dish from each column. So many dishes not on the new "choice" menu or the tasting menu. No hamachi dish, no pork jowl, the kalbi dish is different, not sure if the lobster dish was still on the menu, but if they still make the fried chicken amuse I'll be happy. I'm still with Go with the tasting menu if you're a first timer.
Tasting menu is a safe bet, you will enjoy the experience and if it's your first time there you will sample many of their best dishes.
That being said I always ordered a la carte because I prefer to choose my favorite dishes and make my own menu. I usually order four savory dishes (all of them small size) and a dessert. I admit I'm not a big eater but consider that the tasting menu dishes are usually smaller then the small size a la carte ones.
You will get amouses and petit four anyway (sometime with the tasting menu they give you an additional amouse, a soup, but I got it while going a la carte as well once or twice).
It does seem that the dishes people talk about are all on the a la carte menu. I wish I was going with three others so the four of us could just order every item on the a la carte menu.
Current tasting menu:
Scallop, Maesangi, Tuna belly, Octopus, Crispy red snapper, Mushrooms, Hae Jang, Ginseng duck, Green apple, Sweet potato.
Tasting menu in November:
Cobia tartare, Fried oysters, Octopus, Crispy red snapper, Mushrooms, Hae Jang, Egg with mushrooms, Jungsik steak, Citrus, Jang Dok
Somehow that older tasting menu seems much better and includes their more well-known dishes.
I would go with the tasting menu, although the current menu looks much different than the menu I had a year ago around this time. It was an 11 courser and 16 overall (with amuses etc). If its your bday, you get a traditional rice dish extra.
While I dont know if the current menu is better or worse, I would still go with that. Hope you like it