Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Korean BBQ at Maple Tree House in Itaewon


Maple Tree House Itaewon
This place on a Friday night is packed with a mixed crowd of Koreans and International people. The interior design is great. It feels open for the walls are trees that are some what opened and the copper exhaust suckers that hang from the ceiling adds class.

The menu is reasonable, not cheap, but for an upscale BBQ restaurant it is ok. Hanwoo grade 1++ starts at 35,500 and American USDA Prime starts at 31,000 won (10% VAT not included).  There is Woo Sam Gyup which is supposed to be a "beef bacon" and they have marinated short ribs (which I was warned against by a fellow foodie).

Besides abeef they have Jeju Black Pork (15,500) and Chilean jowl, loin cap and pork belly (all 11,000 won).

There is also wine on the menu. A bottle of Blue Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is 30,000 won and they also have Lou's No. 1. Of the list the Dona Javiera Carmenere looks most enticing (33,000).

I was able to study the menu closely for my friends were late. I have to say that management was incredibly patient since my guests were over 45 minutes late. They asked me to move to a different table, but that wasn't a big problem.

So once my friends came the dinner service started.

Maple Tree House Itaewon: Woo Sam Gyeop
We started with some thick cut Chilean pork belly which they cooked over charcoal on a pot which sat right on the table. The pork looked very fresh: pink with a lucid ribbon of fat. It sizzled deliciously on the table.

Now the pot looked cool on the table, but I  don't think it was the best vessel for bbq'ing meat.  The oil from the meat starting dripping off the side and eventually leaked onto the pants of my guest! Maybe this was an isolated case, but this shouldn't happen.

At least the meat was good. The pork jowl that followed was tender and buttery and we finished with some beef bacon. This was ok. It was thin slices of beef that had lots of fat. It tasted good but I know that is is just like Chadol Baeggi (thinly sliced beef brisket) that was grilled on a pan.

The side dishes were nothing to write home about either. Nothing special. The watery naengmyeon we had last had green noodles and a crisp broth. Again it was just average naengmyeon.

Meh. I have had better, but it was far from the worst. The location is good (in Itaewon). The atmosphere is nice and so is service. It is a good place to take foreign guests or the squeamish. It is a fine starter Korean BBQ house.

Maple Tree house
* (1 star out of 4): Nice atmosphere and service. Lacks proper execution.
Www.mapletreehouse.co.kr
Itaewon: 02-790-7977

Maple Tree House Itaewon: Mul Naengmyeon
Maple Tree House Itaewon

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