REVIEW: Jeong Chicago, 8 Outstanding Courses of Modern Korean Cuisine
🏵️ Jeong is an Oasis of Korean Fine Dining in the Midwest
Chicago might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sophisticated Korean restaurants but Jeong puts that bias in its place with its exceptional modern cuisine. In town for a special event, my husband and I walked into the restaurant expecting a solid effort at copying the likes of Michelin-starred Korean restaurants on the coasts; we’ve never been happier to be proven so very wrong.
Created by chef Dave Park and his wife and general manager Jennifer Tran, Jeong Chicago is that rare tasting menu that delivers perfection in each of its eight courses. Devoid of anything heavy like foie gras and other gout-inducing Western ingredients that our Korean ancestors would not recognize, the seafood-leaning cuisine at Jeong is light and perfectly portioned. Each course is delightfully modern but thoroughly authentic in its Korean inspiration.
The setting is intimate and chic but understated with a price to match. 8 courses for $123 is by no means cheap, but it is a fraction of the prices charged at comparable restaurants in New York and California.
Frequent travelers to Seoul know that Koreans love a good set menu. It removes the annoying work of deciding what to order while promising to deliver the best bites that the chef has to offer. We’ve enjoyed more than our fair share of tasting menus both in and out of Korea, and have rarely found one that is as satisfying as Jeong.
The 8 Courses at Jeong Chicago
1. Chawanmushi. King crab. Osetra Caviar. Scallion
The tasting menu starts off strong. Within a silky King crab savory egg custard, Osetra caviar and scallion curls sit on top of Alaskan king crab scented with lemon and sesame.
2. Salmon. Yuza. Dwenjang. Creme Fraiche. Crispy Rice Pearls
The salmon tartare at Jeong is unlike any other. It is cured in dwenjang and yuzu gastrique, and then covered with dollops of creme fraiche and crunchy bits of rice pearls. Every bite is a symphony of flavors and textures.
3. Seared Scallop. Beurre Blanc. Spinach. Trout Roe. Chives
The scallop is cooked to absolute perfection, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside with a bit of sauce and a tiny tower of trout roe and spinach. Jeong executes this dish beautifully. The beurre blanc sauce adds flavor to the scallop while also cutting through its richness.
4. Sea Bream. Miyuk. Celtuce. Chili Crisp
A soul satisfying dish that will remind you of the traditional Korean birthday soup, only much much better. Steamed New Zealand sea bream nestled atop miyeok in a miyeokguk (Korean seaweed soup) broth.
5. Jook. Duck Confit, Five Spice Granola
Duck bones are roasted to make a beautiful stock then turned into jook, Korean porridge. The jook is topped with five-spice granola and fresh herbs.
6. Duck. Kabocha. Gochujang
It’s hard to overstate how good this duck is. Grilled duck breast with a gochujang glaze, apple muchim, and kabocha puree. The skin is crisp with just a sliver of fat, and the meat is cooked to perfection tasting of a deep smokiness. Velvety kabocha puree. Crisp and sweet marinated apple batons.
7. Pear. Korean Yakult. Lemon. Mint
The first dessert course is a wonderful palette cleanser. The yakult pudding with poached pear is deliciously light, clean and refreshing.
8. Boricha. Chocolate Cake
Nutty boricha ice cream, moist chocolate cake, and traditional black sesame crumble. So creative and so hometown Korean.
Bravo, Jeong. For you, we will soon make the trip back to Chicago.
1460 W Chicago Ave,. Chicago, IL 60642