The prolific Mins Group led by chef and restaurateur Min Choe will debut the latest newcomer to the Korean dining scene, JooDang, set to open on Tuesday, November 14 in the Tenderloin. The restaurant’s menu pulls together Korean and Japanese dishes and cooking techniques, two styles with which Choe is intimately familiar. Diners can look for dishes such as creamy kimchi shrimp stir-fry with black tiger prawns, truffle bulgogi with soy-marinated ribeye, and pan-seared scallops with kabocha miso puree. But JooDang is also meant to be a place for individuals “who appreciate good drinks,” owner Jeffrey Nam says. “We specialize in craft cocktails that are unique showcases of Korea.”
JooDang takes over the space formerly occupied by Suragan, a Mins Group restaurant that closed in August and whose chef has since moved on from the location and the group. Nam says Choe was involved with setting up the menu at the restaurant, which will be executed by chef Jose Claudio, who’s worked at other Mins Group restaurants such as Barnzu, Sushi Sato, and Suragan.
The menu offers a mix of familiar items — ever-popular Korean fried chicken and corn cheese, for instance — plus some less-expected dishes, such as the aforementioned creamy shrimp stirfry and a crab risotto, which has become an early customer favorite. Befitting a restaurant group with a few sushi places under its belt, the cold dish menu offers items such as the kanpachi truffle, amberjack with ponzu and a hit of truffle, and a snow crab-laced cucumber salad, similar to sunomono. A matcha cheesecake and in-house-made makgeolli ice cream add a sweet note to the end of the meal.
The drink side of the menu will feature seasonal soju cocktails that will rotate throughout the year, highlighting “flavors of Korea,” Nam says. For the opening cocktail menu, a tangerine soju made on Jeju Island in South Korea anchors the Jeju Tanga Fizz along with makgeolli, a rice wine, and balanced with black sesame, citrus, and honey. The Seoul mule uses ginger-infused soju paired with baekse-ju, an herb-flavored glutinous rice-based alcohol, and yuzu. Meanwhile, the Asian Glow features tomato pineapple soju with a kimchi shrub and Tajin. JooDang will also feature one beer on tap: fittingly, Mins Group’s MG Beer, which is made by brewmaster Dave McLean, produced a lager made especially for JooDang, Nam says. Nonalcoholic mocktails are on their way soon, Nam promises, made with fresh fruits, much like the restaurant’s cocktails. The restaurant soon will expand its hours to 1 a.m. with K-pop tunes playing in the background, Nam says, with hopes to become a new late-night destination spot for San Francisco.
JooDang (250 Hyde Street) is holding its grand opening on Tuesday, November 14. It is open 5 to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, for now, with plans to expand hours to 1 a.m. in the future.