Meju Korean Kitchen is a modern restaurant inspired by Korean food, located in lively Davis Square. Meju are fermented soy bean blocks used as the foundation of Korean cuisine for condiments such as soy bean paste, soy sauce and chili paste. Its dishes incorporate these condiments to create delicious flavors and tastes. Meju is a family-owned business, an offshoot of the former Bibim restaurant in Allston.
The Somerville location has an inviting open space with mood lighting and exposed brick. Its bar offers a selection of soju cocktails. The Meju Mule ($8), recommended by owner Ed Kim, combines cucumber-infused soju, ginger beer and grapefruit juice for a refreshing cocktail. It was delightful for someone who is not fond of soju.
Our party of three ordered from the tapas (small dishes) menu and shared two entrees. The pulled beef tacos ($9) had three tacos with a generous portion of beef, avocado slices, red onion, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. They were eaten quickly for a tasty appetizer.
The kimchi scallion pancake ($11) came out cut into six slices. These pancakes use delicious homemade kimchi with savory onions, pepper, zucchini and carrots for serious crispness, making these the best kimchi pancakes in the greater Boston area.
The sweet pumpkin croquette ($7) had four croquettes with great texture. The pumpkin lent a touch of sweetness and the chili mayo added heat. However, the croquettes came out on the cool side.
The chili pork belly ($12) came out in a mini cast-iron skillet. Stir-fried pork belly was flavorful, marrying the right amount of fat and lean pork without being too spicy.
The poke bibimbap ($18) was half tuna and half tuna (raw fish) with fish roe over crisp veggies. This is a fresh take on bibimbap using avocado, red cabbage, carrots, cucumber and mesclun greens over rice. The gochujang (spicy chili paste) is served on the side, allowing patrons to adjust for taste, before mixing everything together. It came with four banchan or side dishes.
Meju’s take on Korean staple beef japchae ($15) was well executed. Stir-fried glass noodles studded with onions, carrots and spinach satisfied. The seasoning was balanced without being cloyingly sweet.
We ordered the limited dessert offering: Boston BonBon macarons in salted caramel ($4.50). The specialty macarons featured Ryan, a maneless lion beloved by fans of Korean chat app Kakao Talk. Biting into his cute face was hard, but the macaron was firm and airy. We were surprised with three vanilla mochi for dessert on the house. Mochi is a Japanese dessert made of pounded sticky rice; ours had ice cream in the center.
The service was attentive, with thoughtful suggestions from our server. If you are ever in Davis Square, check out Meju for drinks and comfort food.
Meju Korean Kitchen
243 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
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