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  • San Soo Gap San

    Post #1 - October 19th, 2006, 9:04 am
    Post #1 - October 19th, 2006, 9:04 am Post #1 - October 19th, 2006, 9:04 am
    LTH,

    I was going to post a few pictures from our GNR outing to an existing thread, but was surprised there wasn't one dedicated to San Soo Gap San, lots of detailed discussion, but not one that was SSGS specific.

    As I said in the Trixie-Pea's nomination thread I used to be lukewarm on SSGS until I went with her and Pigmon one evening and they introduced me to SSGS's terrific soups, and stews, in particular kalbi tang (beef short rib soup), yuk gae jang (spicy shredded beef soup), and heuk yumso tang (goat soup/stew).

    I've also grown to love SSGS's version of Yook Hwe (seasoned raw beef with shards of Asian pear topped with an egg yolk).

    Trixie-Pea with Yook Hwe
    Image

    And SSGS's terrific tongue and tendon.
    Image

    Not to mention the fact their panchan is varied and delicious and they use live coals for their Korean BBQ.

    SSGS
    Image
    Image

    While SSGS gets a lot of play for being open (almost) 24-hours I enjoy it for lunch or dinner as well as the occasional 2am after drinking excursion.

    An excellent, well deserving LTHForum Great Neighborhood Restaurant, thanks Trixie-Pea.

    Trixie-Pea with Cindy Moon of SSGS
    Image

    SSGS
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    San Soo Gap San
    5247 N. Western Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-334-1589
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - October 19th, 2006, 12:53 pm
    Post #2 - October 19th, 2006, 12:53 pm Post #2 - October 19th, 2006, 12:53 pm
    I confess to judging Korean restaurants mainly on the quality of their panchan, and SSGS is among the best in that department that I've sampled thus far. My favorites are the panchan at the place - does it even have an English name? - that's on Lawrence on the southeast corner of some intersection - very different and very delicious, but they didn't serve as many as they do at SSGS.
    "Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks." - Lin Yutang
  • Post #3 - October 19th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    Post #3 - October 19th, 2006, 6:30 pm Post #3 - October 19th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    I recently visited SSGS for the first time this past weekend when two college friends came in out of town; We were accompanied by a married couple recently transplanted from LA. To my Korean and Filipino friend the food was fairly authentic and decent. To the LA couple (Korean as well), of course no Asian food anywhere in the states can compare, although they acquiesed that it was OK. I thought the food was fairly decent and was very appreciative of the old SSGS posts profiling the good grinds. Everyone I think was impressed with the variety of the panchan. Tried soju for the first time too - then strangely enough was shopping at H-mart the next day and saw the highway robbery perpetrated on soju. I suppose a 4x markup is typical for alcohol though, but $16 for a $4 bottle you can buy at H-mart? Many brands are only $3 for a 325ml bottle. Who knew soju was so cheap?
  • Post #4 - October 19th, 2006, 8:32 pm
    Post #4 - October 19th, 2006, 8:32 pm Post #4 - October 19th, 2006, 8:32 pm
    Oops! I would just like to state that this restaurant DID NOT make me sick. I was sick before I went and thought I would be ok, but I wasn't. I didn't realize how I worded my previous post so if you read it, don't be afraid of yummy Korean BBQ, ok? :D
  • Post #5 - October 19th, 2006, 9:18 pm
    Post #5 - October 19th, 2006, 9:18 pm Post #5 - October 19th, 2006, 9:18 pm
    Jewlia wrote:Oops! I would just like to state that this restaurant DID NOT make me sick. I was sick before I went and thought I would be ok, but I wasn't. I didn't realize how I worded my previous post so if you read it, don't be afraid of yummy Korean BBQ, ok? :D


    Looks like moderator secret police strongly convinced another LTH forum poster to modify their potentially libelous statement. I had a similar visit regarding a statement I had once made about Isaacson & Stern.
  • Post #6 - October 19th, 2006, 9:46 pm
    Post #6 - October 19th, 2006, 9:46 pm Post #6 - October 19th, 2006, 9:46 pm
    There's nothing secret about what the moderators do around here. It would be secretive if we pulled your post and didn't tell you why.

    When posts violate the posting guidelines, the post may be removed and the member is given the opportunity to edit and re-post in the case that it is removed.

    Posting Guidelines

    Also please feel free to read:

    A note on moderator decisions

    Thank you.

    Best,
    Michael
    for the moderators
  • Post #7 - October 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Post #7 - October 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm Post #7 - October 19th, 2006, 10:03 pm
    Jay K wrote:Tried soju for the first time too - then strangely enough was shopping at H-mart the next day and saw the highway robbery perpetrated on soju. I suppose a 4x markup is typical for alcohol though, but $16 for a $4 bottle you can buy at H-mart? Many brands are only $3 for a 325ml bottle. Who knew soju was so cheap?


    Actually, in Korea, you can get a bottle for about $.80. I didn't check the prices on the liter bottles while I was there, though. Probably not more than a couple of bucks, I'm guessing!
  • Post #8 - October 19th, 2006, 10:23 pm
    Post #8 - October 19th, 2006, 10:23 pm Post #8 - October 19th, 2006, 10:23 pm
    eatchicago,

    my comments re: the polizei were made tongue-in-cheek, but thanks for the useful links and clarifications

    gtgirl,

    goodnight - $.80 soju? that's cheaper than buying soda from a machine...
  • Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 12:12 pm
    Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 12:12 pm Post #9 - November 8th, 2006, 12:12 pm
    What's H-Mart?


    Also, does this restaurant smell really good? Last night I met a friend at work and we went to a museum & dinner (Macy's panini & chocolates, in case anyone was curious :) ), so when I got off the bus at Western & Berwyn, it was much later than it usually is when I go home, and I smelled an incredible smell that I couldn't identify. It smelled like BBQ, but had a different component to it that I just couldn't, and still can't, pin down. Jimthebeerguy have been talking about checking this place out, and now I'm even more compelled to do so.....
  • Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 12:25 pm Post #10 - November 8th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Saint Pizza wrote:What's H-Mart?.


    Check here.
  • Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 4:32 pm
    Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 4:32 pm Post #11 - November 8th, 2006, 4:32 pm
    G Wiv wrote:As I said in the Trixie-Pea's nomination thread I used to be lukewarm on SSGS until I went with her and Pigmon one evening and they introduced me to SSGS's terrific soups, and stews, in particular kalbi tang (beef short rib soup), yuk gae jang (spicy shredded beef soup), and heuk yumso tang (goat soup/stew).

    While (mostly second-gen) Korean friends and relatives of mine aren't too keen on the customer service at SSGS, I still enjoy their soups (jjee-kehs) whenever I happen to be there. (I don't recommend Korean or Asian restaurants very often -- hey, I'm a fast-food snob! -- but SSGS is usually right up there with Great Sea[s] in my mind.) My usual is a sort of fish stew (Tae-gu meh-oon-tahng), but I don't mind their too-boo (tofu), kimchi, or twen-jang (fermented-bean-paste) jjee-kehs, either. I'll have to branch out and try one of the ones you recommended the next time I'm there, Gary.

    Thanks for the heads-up,
    Dan

    P.S. Oh, and for the sake of your olfactory alertness, St. Pizza, I'd advise researching the SSGS post recs posthaste and casually stopping by for a meal as soon as you can. Just make sure you go in with low expectations of service, and you might very well come out ahead in the end. Hope you have a good time!
  • Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:20 am
    Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:20 am Post #12 - November 9th, 2006, 9:20 am
    Akatonbo wrote:I confess to judging Korean restaurants mainly on the quality of their panchan, and SSGS is among the best in that department that I've sampled thus far. My favorites are the panchan at the place - does it even have an English name? - that's on Lawrence on the southeast corner of some intersection - very different and very delicious, but they didn't serve as many as they do at SSGS.


    I could be mistaken, but I believe you're referring to Chicago Korean Restaurant that existed on the SE corner of Lawrence and Washtenaw up until earlier this year, when condo-ization of that corner pushed them out of the space. The proprieters were supposed to open across the street on the south side of Lawrence, but there hasn't been much activity behind the door.

    At any rate, you'll find no shortage of highly regarded Korean restaurants within a 3 mile radius of Lawrence and Kedzie; among them, Hae Woon Dae and Kang Nam, just to mention a few.

    -sherman
  • Post #13 - May 5th, 2007, 8:11 am
    Post #13 - May 5th, 2007, 8:11 am Post #13 - May 5th, 2007, 8:11 am
    fastfoodsnob wrote:While (mostly second-gen) Korean friends and relatives of mine aren't too keen on the customer service at SSGS,

    FFS,

    I've experienced both sides of the coin, but last night service, and overall customer interaction, was friendly, efficient, helpful, moreover SSGS's Korean BBQ was spot-on. Deep flavorful marinade, rich marbled meat, cauldron of glowing lump charcoal, very satisfying.

    Typical SSGS impressive array of panchan, one of the better Yook Hwe (seasoned raw beef) in the city and terrific people watching to boot. SSGS is now running a close second to my current Korean BBQ favorite Hae Woon Dae

    Minor SSGS quibble, the cooking grate was not switched out and, by the end of our meal, was starting to smoke due to charred bit build-up. Comparatively, Hae Woon Dae switched cooking grates 2-3 times during our last visit, which cuts down on smoke.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - May 5th, 2007, 9:16 am
    Post #14 - May 5th, 2007, 9:16 am Post #14 - May 5th, 2007, 9:16 am
    G Wiv wrote:I've experienced both sides of the coin, but last night service, and overall customer interaction, was friendly, efficient, helpful, moreover SSGS's Korean BBQ was spot-on. Deep flavorful marinade, rich marbled meat, cauldron of glowing lump charcoal, very satisfying.

    Typical SSGS impressive array of panchan, one of the better Yook Hwe (seasoned raw beef) in the city and terrific people watching to boot.


    I'll agree that our dinner last night was quite enjoyable. SSGS was hopping last night and while the waitresses were scurrying around, they seemed to be in very good humor and treated us very well. Here's what Gary was talking about.

    SSGS Yook Hwe
    Image

    SSGS Meat - Ready for the Cauldron
    Image

    SSGS Fixens
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #15 - May 5th, 2007, 12:48 pm
    Post #15 - May 5th, 2007, 12:48 pm Post #15 - May 5th, 2007, 12:48 pm
    For years it was the goal of my self and a group of my friends
    to discover the best kalbi in Chicago. We have visited around
    12-15 different joints, about 10 of those were not worth a
    second visit. For the others we made it a point to find the one
    we would enjoy frequenting. After a minimum of 4 visits to each
    we made some determinations, the most important of which is
    that SSGS is the most consistent of all the kalbi slingers in the
    city. We then, for the next few years would go with a group of
    10-15 every Saturday night after work. This ritual continued until
    the group slowly fizzled away, as groups tend to due to marirage
    and re-location. You always know when you have eaten good
    kalbi when you have to hide from others the day after. This is
    due to the wood smoke staining your skin and sweating off
    garlic, soju and bean paste. It's an unmistakable odor that
    leaves you remembering the night you had before. And no other
    does it better that SSGS. :D
    Justin Hall
    FIG Catering
    FIGcatering.com
    MMMMM, Moon Waffles.
  • Post #16 - May 6th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Post #16 - May 6th, 2007, 3:09 pm Post #16 - May 6th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Jay K wrote:eatchicago,

    goodnight - $.80 soju? that's cheaper than buying soda from a machine...


    Soju was in fact available via vending machines in Seoul a while ago -- I don't know if they got rid of that but they were similar to soda machines.

    I always think of soju as a working class (and student) associated alcohol and my immigrant parents insist i'm lying when i told them about soju bars and hipsters drinking $10 soju-tinis in the U.S. They just laughed and laughed until my dad made his standard non sequitur transition lecture of "advantageous behavior in the workplace." This one was about not telling exaggerated stories for the benefit of a laugh.
  • Post #17 - May 6th, 2007, 10:41 pm
    Post #17 - May 6th, 2007, 10:41 pm Post #17 - May 6th, 2007, 10:41 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    fastfoodsnob wrote:While (mostly second-gen) Korean friends and relatives of mine aren't too keen on the customer service at SSGS,

    FFS,

    I've experienced both sides of the coin, but last night service, and overall customer interaction, was friendly, efficient, helpful, moreover SSGS's Korean BBQ was spot-on. Deep flavorful marinade, rich marbled meat, cauldron of glowing lump charcoal, very satisfying.

    Typical SSGS impressive array of panchan, one of the better Yook Hwe (seasoned raw beef) in the city and terrific people watching to boot. SSGS is now running a close second to my current Korean BBQ favorite Hae Woon Dae

    Minor SSGS quibble, the cooking grate was not switched out and, by the end of our meal, was starting to smoke due to charred bit build-up. Comparatively, Hae Woon Dae switched cooking grates 2-3 times during our last visit, which cuts down on smoke.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Heh, heh... it's good to hear that the goin's good over at SSGS, Gary. I've actually been meaning to stop by Hae Woon Dae recently, so maybe I'll have an up-to-date basis for comparison in the near future. The pictorial close-ups are of course always appreciated, stevez. :)

    Enjoying a great meal vicariously just never gets old, even after gorging on four bratwursts, a burger, and a random sausage today. After a few consecutive days of feasts this past week, I feel that my capacity for consuming food is returning to someplace near its former glory. Let the grilling season commence! :P

    Meat tastes good,
    Dan
  • Post #18 - May 7th, 2007, 3:01 pm
    Post #18 - May 7th, 2007, 3:01 pm Post #18 - May 7th, 2007, 3:01 pm
    Hey Gary, your picture of the front door says "San Soo Gab San". Gab not Gap. :wink:
  • Post #19 - May 7th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Post #19 - May 7th, 2007, 3:15 pm Post #19 - May 7th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Hey Doc, check out these posts :) It should be, if not enlightening, then at least interesting.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #20 - May 7th, 2007, 3:22 pm
    Post #20 - May 7th, 2007, 3:22 pm Post #20 - May 7th, 2007, 3:22 pm
    figjustin wrote:You always know when you have eaten good
    kalbi when you have to hide from others the day after. This is
    due to the wood smoke staining your skin and sweating off
    garlic, soju and bean paste. It's an unmistakable odor that
    leaves you remembering the night you had before.


    The aromas even better when you mix in a few OB beers. I've come home late after some kalbi with the boys. My wife told my I stunk like a garbage can and banished me to the guest bedroom.
  • Post #21 - February 14th, 2008, 5:02 pm
    Post #21 - February 14th, 2008, 5:02 pm Post #21 - February 14th, 2008, 5:02 pm
    Are the menus in English?
    "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside."
    -Mark Twain
  • Post #22 - February 14th, 2008, 7:06 pm
    Post #22 - February 14th, 2008, 7:06 pm Post #22 - February 14th, 2008, 7:06 pm
    Saint Pizza wrote:Are the menus in English?

    SP,

    Menus are in English and, after a recent redecoration, San Soo Gab San's physical space has a more open, welcoming feel.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - February 14th, 2008, 9:40 pm
    Post #23 - February 14th, 2008, 9:40 pm Post #23 - February 14th, 2008, 9:40 pm
    Thank you, Gary. We had a pleasant family Valentine's Dinner there tonight. We researched the forums here first, so we didn't order anything that hasn't already been covered (dolsot bibimbop, goat stew, noodles, BBQ), but I just want to say, THANKS LTHforum, for providing so many thorough pictorials on so many restaurants!!
    "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside."
    -Mark Twain
  • Post #24 - February 15th, 2008, 10:29 pm
    Post #24 - February 15th, 2008, 10:29 pm Post #24 - February 15th, 2008, 10:29 pm
    We went tonight (Friday 15th) for Valentine's Dinner, being too tired last night. We actually braved the horrendous Friday rush hour traffic (man, the north side! :evil: ) to go to the Garden, the cradle of our love for Korean food. But, it was closed. (Vacation? Permanent?) So, we took the training wheels off and veered across Western Ave traffic to SSGS. Overall it was quite excellent! The jap chae was tasty. The panchan were overwhelming in number, variety and flavor. We had marinated kalbi, chicken "kalbi," and some mackerel. The beef and chicken were among the most flavorful I've had. The teriyaki bento box was nice option for the 5-year old, although now I think he's sold on the grill-your-own chicken. Everything was fresh and tasty. Of special note was the soup served with the dinners -- I really don't know what the stock was based on, but it was among the most flavorful, complex, yummy broths I've ever had, with the wonderful addition of fresh-sliced chiles. I begin to think that, as yummy as the BBQ is, the real heart and distinctiveness of Korean cuisine is the soup.

    The place was really hopping when we left, with a few large groups, some Korean, some multi-ethnic college kids. How funny, then, to arrive home at the exact moment Check, Please! was re-running their segment on SSGS. We will probably return when next we feel like a Korean BBQ bingefest.
  • Post #25 - February 16th, 2008, 10:04 am
    Post #25 - February 16th, 2008, 10:04 am Post #25 - February 16th, 2008, 10:04 am
    rdb66 wrote: to go to the Garden, the cradle of our love for Korean food. But, it was closed. (Vacation? Permanent?)


    On another thread, someone mentioned this is permanent. :(
  • Post #26 - February 16th, 2008, 12:50 pm
    Post #26 - February 16th, 2008, 12:50 pm Post #26 - February 16th, 2008, 12:50 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    Saint Pizza wrote:Are the menus in English?

    SP,

    Menus are in English and, after a recent redecoration, San Soo Gab San's physical space has a more open, welcoming feel.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    I'm not a fan of the remodel...it used to feel so cozy, and now everything just feels open and exposed. While it's really no more exposed than any other restaurant, I'm used to a certain amount of privacy as I gorge myself on kalbi and kim chee.
  • Post #27 - February 17th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    Post #27 - February 17th, 2008, 6:48 pm Post #27 - February 17th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    I went with 2 other diners Saturday night, not realizing that it had just been featured on Check Please. It's usually busy, but the waitstaff seemed particularly overwhelmed and curt. Twice they came to our table to give us entrees that we didn't order. Then when we received 2 orders of Bim Bim Bop, and only one of us got meat with it! (on a happier note the pork belly with kimchee got a big thumbs up)
    Then, immediately after paying the check we were asked to leave and make room for other diners. Usually I'm considerate of people waiting, but this was seconds after our last swallow, and there were many tables open. I don't expect a tender touch at San Soo Gab San, but I was a little put off. Though I shouldn't have been surprised since a party of two was moved out to a smaller table mid-meal to make room for our party of 3.
    I'm hoping this is just a post-Check Please phenomenon since this is one of my favorite restaurants. But next time a korean craving comes on, I might give another place a go. Kang Nam perhaps...
  • Post #28 - February 17th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    Post #28 - February 17th, 2008, 7:24 pm Post #28 - February 17th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    I think I may bring my Korean friends here when they come from out of town. Since I live very close to here, it should be a nice place to walk to when the weather is nice. They're from L.A though, so I hope this place is up to their standards. :D
  • Post #29 - February 17th, 2008, 7:48 pm
    Post #29 - February 17th, 2008, 7:48 pm Post #29 - February 17th, 2008, 7:48 pm
    Wiseguy wrote:I think I may bring my Korean friends here when they come from out of town. Since I live very close to here, it should be a nice place to walk to when the weather is nice. They're from L.A though, so I hope this place is up to their standards. :D


    If they are Korean and from LA, I'd question their decision on "agreeing" to go Korean BBQing anywhere else besides in LA. :wink:
  • Post #30 - February 17th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    Post #30 - February 17th, 2008, 7:49 pm Post #30 - February 17th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    Especially if SSGS is having another Check Please effect, I'd rather go to Hae Woon Dae (the other Korean BBQ GNR).

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