Ahhh….darkness. When one walks into Jin Ju the low lights envelope and soothe. Sure, you may or may not be able to see your date, but really…why the need to see every tiny detail? That’s for the next morning at brunch!
The two standouts of jin jiu are the server’s personalities, and the kicky, mildly innovative but reliably spicy and enjoyable dishes. You can depend on “Mike”,* the diminutive but muscular server to give you a reassuring and flirtatious squeeze on the arm (not tuchus, never fear) as you sit down. Our runner up, but not lesser favorite is “Lance”* (apologize for stereotypical name) the flamboyant, expressively waxed server who never fails to welcome, and elucidate the menu items. I tried a Korean restaurant in chicago, but was intimidated by the exclusively Korean menu and self cooking woks/pots at the table. Lance and Mike have endless patience to explain and distinguish one seemingly similiar sounding menu item from the other. It’s a relief…ethnic cuisine for confused yuppies!
The dishes bat it home every time. The bi bim bap with sesame oil (it’s the second item on the entree menu) adds an interesting twist to the traditional dish, and each meal is accompanied by spicy, delectable vegetable/salad/kimchee type thingies that vary every few months or so. The pear martini, a powerful drink (ladies be warned) has the nonpreserved flavor of real pears, with the accompanying kick of decent quality wodka. They excel in wines as well, usually offering the appropriate mix. I should warn, if you have tummy troubles, I would abstain from a night at the Jiu, the spicy dishes are tough. Other than that, Jin Ju is always a pleasant night out.
*Server’s names have been changed not only to protect their identity, but to protect myself from revealing that I’m horrible with names.