Boston and Cambridge have numerous Japanese restaurants (many of which are excellent), as well as a handful of mostly decent Korean restaurants. There are, however, several other good Japanese and Korean restaurants that are located out in the suburbs of Boston, including Oishii in Chestnut Hill and New Ginza in Watertown if you are looking for the former, and New Jang Su in Burlington if you are looking for the latter. And there is one restaurant just west of Newton Centre that offers both cuisines all under one roof. Its name may not roll off the tongue easily, but Apgujung is indeed a place that should satisfy lovers of Japanese and Korean food alike.
Apgujung is a large restaurant, with a main dining area, a section for cook-it-yourself BBQ, and a sushi bar. The interior of Apgujung is dark and cavernous, with a vaguely industrial feel to the place (those who like brightly-lit, cheery restaurants may not like eating here). Traditional Korean music is piped in through the speakers, cutting through the silence of this rather stark place. But while the atmosphere might not be to everyone's liking, the food at Apgujung is excellent, especially for a suburban dining spot. The menu includes a tremendous variety of items, including appetizers, soups, salads, Korean BBQ, sushi, maki, teriyaki, noodle dishes, tempura, and bibimbap.
For appetizers, the gyoza (homemade dumplings) is tough to beat, with the steamed pork dumplings being hearty enough to make a meal out of. Soups include a light, mild miso soup that has just enough seaweed and scallions to give it a decent, pleasant flavor. On the Japanese side of the menu, the chicken teriyaki is well above your average teriyaki dish, as the marinade has a slightly bitter, fermented flavor that really stands out. And on the Korean side of the menu, the spicy pork bulgogi (Korean BBQ) is simply wonderful, with a mild ginger soy sauce and a moderately hot red chili paste combining to make for a tremendously flavorful dish.
There may be better Japanese restaurants in and around Boston, and there are at least a couple of Boston-area Korean restaurants that are equal to Apgujung, but considering that this restaurant features excellent food that falls under both cuisines, offers plentiful space inside, has mostly decent prices, and free parking to boot, it is easy to make a case for eating here. Thanks to Apgujung, it is indeed possible to get good Japanese and Korean food in one dining spot and not have to go into the city to find it.
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