Welcome to mmm-yoso - a little foodblog hosted by Kirk, who sometimes lets his friends post here. Like today, for example, when ed (from Yuma) writes about some things he ate on his summer vacation.
Although I have not lived in the Monterey area since 1997, I am fortunate to still have friends on the peninsula. And fortunately for me, many of those friends are almost as food obsessed as I am. With their help, I am able to eat in restaurants far from the beaten paths, places with no tourists in sight (well, except for me, I guess).
Last summer, Jack, Sarah, Lance, Tina, and I descended upon one such place, Shin La Korean restaurant.:
This small restaurant is located in a little strip mall on Carmel Ave, a few blocks east of Del Monte Blvd in Marina, California. In fact, if one wanted to hide a restaurant in a location where almost nobody could possibly find it -- this'd be the place. The neighborhood is mostly residential and Carmel Ave is such a secondary street that there is no stoplight for it on Del Monte Blvd.
Previously, this space and been occupied by Shinra Korean restaurant, which served me a couple excellent meals before it went downhill. I have no idea when the new owner took it over.
In some respects, this incarnation is not as good as its predecessor. In particular, the ban chan currently lacks tremendous variety and outstanding quality. At Shin La, the ban chan were pretty ordinary - though properly prepared:
On the other hand, our first dish, fried mandu ($10.99), was first rate:
Each of these giant ravioli was stuffed with lightly spiced ground beef and had been nicely grilled like a good potsticker. The spicy dipping sauce was a nice complement.
We also were impressed by the cold noodles ($9.99):
Although the basic ingredients were just typical, the noodles had a nice pull to them and the broth (does anyone know what is in the broth for Korean cold noodles??) was very good. We were also impressed by the accompanying stoneground mustard seed:
The highlight of the meal was probably the Black goat soup ($29.99), which was served in a metal bowl placed on a heating element to keep the soup warm:
All of us were impressed by the soup itself. As you can see by this picture, numerous slices of goat meat were combined with a lot of cabbage in a rich and spicy miso broth:
The five of us ate until we were stuffed like dumplings and agreed that the food overall was pretty darned good. The next time you're in the Monterey Peninsula area, stop at Shin La for a meal and say some friends recommended the place.
Shin La Korean Restaurant, 265 Carmel Ave, Marina CA (831) 384-8956