Its partisans will tell you this is the best Korean restaurant in Baltimore City, and with all due respect to the competition, they may be right. It doesn't hurt that in addition to the typical hot pots and so on, Joung Kak offers the Korean staple that is table-top grilling, wherein you cook your own from a panoply of proteins. We suggest a sizeable party and big appetites.
Down those narrow, unprepossessing steps lies deliciousness at nearly any time of day or night. The basement space that contains Baltimore's longest-running Korean restaurant has received some sprucing up in recent years, but the reasons to patronize remain the same: a panoply of Asian soul food (plus some Chinese entrees and sushi) served up hot and sour till 4 a.m. Noodle dishes, hot pots, dumplings, crêpes, banchan. All good.
8801 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, (410) 461-3280, $$
Traveling on 40 West into Howard County, you may notice something unusual--Asians, everywhere--which means you're probably in Ellicott City. As logic would dictate, there are lots of good Asian restaurants here, too, including Shin Chon, far and away the best Korean barbecue restaurant north of 495. Glistening fresh meats are expertly marinated, neatly trimmed, and served with not only numerous, high-quality banchan (the true test of a Korean place), but also with drool-inducing fermented soybean stew, an often overlooked touch of authenticity. Beware Sunday afternoons, as startlingly aggressive post-church diners vie for parking and tables.