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Dan Moo Ji

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Entering the colorful restaurant feels like you've accidentally stumbled into a teen girl's bedroom. The walls are covered with hearts, cartoon faces drawn in marker, clusters of neon Post-its doodled by happy customers. Groups of fashionable Koreans huddle around tricked-out tabletop burners where dishes are cooked and served by the frenetic all-girl staff. No table is without an order of kimbob, large slices of Korean sushi filled with tender curls of spicy octopus, or bulgogi (seasoned beef rib-eye). Kimchi fried rice topped with unorthodox ingredients -- such as melted cheese -- sounds odd, but the first grease-laden bite is revelatory. Korean cold noodle fans should check out the jjol myun, a heaping bowl of rice noodles finished with julienned vegetables and spicy sauce. Order enough food to give reason to linger and let the cheerful spirit soak in.

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You can order chili ($1.49). Chicken wings, too (10 for $4.95). Even a hamburger ($2.75) or a BLT ($1.75). Or the fried catfish specials ($4.99 with two sides). The real surprise: The pork barbecue isn't the best thing here -- the beef barbecue is. Its flavor is deep and dense, with a hauntingly smoky sweetness that lingers in the mouth. A twinge of this quality is present in the Brunswick stew, too, with its chunks of potato and tomato and kernels of corn. The barbecue chicken sandwich is better than any other I've ever had.

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