Review: La Plancha in Itaewon

Friday, June 26, 2009


I have rewritten my review on La Plancha for the magazine. You know what, sometimes it is really embarrassing to see the punctuation and spelling errors I make. When I write for my blog, it is with a free flow approach in mind. When I blog, it's just like "wow, that's fun, I'm going to write about it."

REVIEW: La Plancha
By Dan Gray
Behind the Hamilton and tucked away to the right of Saint Ex is La Plancha. La Plancha is a high-end Spanish steak restaurant that has been around for many years. I've heard about this place for ages, yet had not gone. In general I have found western style restaurants serving meat inferior to Korean Restaurants.

Over at Yuhwa (near the Hyatt Hotel) the steak I got was a disk of dried meat with an overly syrupy mango sauce. Outback is just god-awful. VIPS, or Seven Springs- don't even get me started. The one I had at Mignon, which is near Zelen (right up the hill from La Plancha) was quite possibly the only other steak place I would recommend. Their tenderloin was cooked well and of excellent quality, but a bit over priced at around 38,000 (excluding tax).

The interior of La Plancha has a Spanish Matador feel. There are little touches that make you realize this restaurant is special. The red walls make you crave meat. There is a little walled patio with green grass on the first floor. The entire restaurant has an intimate feel- perfect for a romantic evening. And when you get to the table, there is a nice selection of knives you can use to carve away at your meat dishes.

I remember getting seated was a bit of a hassle. My guest and I sat near the entrance for a good 5 minutes or so before I decided to take matters into my own hands and chase down a waitress. The second time I went, my guest and I just sat at a table of our choice and waited for the server to come to us. The service is polite, but a bit lackadaisical.

The first time, I ordered the T-bone and it came with a choice of side, a sauce, and a skewer of grilled vegetables. This came to 35,000 excluding tax, which is a bit pricey, but not unheard of for western style steak.

The T-bone steak was large a round, but thin in thickness. I’m sorry, but when I think T-bone steak, I expect a thick cut. I started to think I should have gotten a different cut of meat. That aside, it was well-seasoned, juicy, and grilled with skill. I asked for it to be medium, but I think I should have asked for medium rare because it was a bit dry by the end. I know it's not the restaurant's fault here, because once the meat gets to the table the residual heat will keep cooking the meat. So...a steak will come to the table medium and it'll end up medium-well by the end of the meal.

I got a bleu cheese sauce for my steak and it was quite nice. It had nice nuggets of bleu cheese and the sauce didn't overpower the meat. My friend got the balsamic and it gave a tart accent to the grilled cow. The other sauces they have on the menu are avocado salsa, pesto, lemon herb mayo, brandy and home made B.B.Q. The homemade B.B.Q. is smoky and piquant; the brandy is also a nice accent to steak.

The skewers were great as well. You get peppers, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes that are grilled just right. A moment longer and the heat of the grill would have reduced the vegetables to mush.
Overall, it is an excellent place for special occasions. You get real value at La Plancha when you go for the combination platters. On my second visit I got the combination for 2 and it came with a juicy Ribeye, grilled chicken, Sausage, Scallop, Shrimp, 3 kinds of sauces, and 3 garnishes. If you ask nicely, they’ll let you choose the garnishes. This platter is enough for three and almost enough for 4- if you order a dish like paella or an extra side to accompany it.

**
2 out of 4
La Plancha 02 790 0063
Price: Entrees start at 19,000, combos start at 45,000 excluding VAT.
Directions: Take the second left as you come out of Itaewon Subway Station Exit 1. Make the second right at the corner of a store called North Beach. It will be on your right.

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