Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: A T-Bone Steak Dinner at Okitchen in Yeouiddo

T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea
T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea
For Valentine's Day, I wanted to treat my wife to a nice place for dinner. She is 5 months pregnant so I had to make sure that it was appropriate food for her so no raw foods or undercooked foods. Plus, she is quite picky so it couldn't be too lavish. Oh, and it was my brother-in-law's birthday and I couldn't leave my mother-in-law at home either. So a meal had to please the younger people while also pleasing to an older generation Korean that needs rice and kimchi at meals.

I decided on Okitchen in Yeouiddo because I knew they had good salads and appetizers, plus good pasta and meat dishes. I could create a Korean meal there.

The place is strangely located in the business district near Yeouiddo. It's in the basement and if I had not been a fan of the chef, I could have had the wrong impression. The place seems cold and characterless. The interior, while has some beautiful art, feels half done. Now the showcase window does show off some amazing meats, cheeses and charcuteries, which is sexy enough for any meat lover. Since, my brother was delayed, I decided to first have a beer at Ok Burger which is right across the hall from Okitchen. The energy there was upbeat. I sat to have a beer at the bar which took awhile because the bartender seemed more preoccupied with dining orders than people at the bar. Next time, I think I would head there for a burger (starting at 7,000 and up to 14,000. Beers were about 10,000 each). But just a tip, I was told at Okitchen that they would serve me a burger there. But even with that in mind, I think I would prefer Ok Burger's atmosphere.

Anyway, back to Okitchen. Since I had made a birthday cake for my wife's birthday, I opted for the ala carte options. I went with a foie gras with a fruit jam. The foie gras was silky and refined with a delightful confetti of pistachio nuts. The fricassee of greens with a white wine vinegarette paired perfectly.

The smoked salmon salad was nice, but I have suspicions about if the salmon was smoked in house. It didn't have the smokiness that I have had from Okitchen in the past. The sesame cracker it was crunchy and a great vessel for the salmon, the salad and ripe avocado. It came with a brioche bun as well, but I thought it was a bit overkill.

We had the eggplant parmesan pasta. The sauce was ripe and red and the eggplant was meaty. The cheese was nothing special, but the pasta dish worked in unison.

Of course the steak was the star of the night. We had a thick 700 gram cut of T-bone steak (84,000 won) that was aged for 6 weeks. The meat was cut, seared and presented to us before they finished cooking it and served it with sides. We asked for the steak to be cooked medium and it was. The steak came to the table cut, which, being American, is a big no no; but it did make it easier to eat as a group. The meat was seasoned and seared perfectly. The beef was bold and flavorful, not gamey like some aged steaks. The strip loin on the one side had density and a soft chew. The tenderloin was luscious and refined. Full of natural beefy flavor. I also appreciated that the steak came with sides such as the sautéed green beans, fried potatoes, mashed potatoes and dijon mustard. The ketchup was a bit unimpressive. Also, I with they had some other steak sauces.

We finished the meal with my homemade strawberry cake and a trio of their desserts. The creme brulee was classic, the vanilla ice cream with walnut cake was spot on and the yogurt ice cream with raspberries and meringue was refreshing.

Service was polite, but I have to say that our servers weren't all really dressed for the ambiance. I felt a sweatshirt to serve fine dining is a bit off. The female manager that was there was very polite and took great care of our family and made us all feel like VIPs. Overall, I would say that Okitchen is a great place for a meal, but I feel it has lost the ambiance and the service level of its predecessors. The restaurant seems to be making meals for its local cliental so it has lost some of its creativity. I went to dinner on Valentine's Day weekend and I felt they didn't quite reach the level they should have. While, I would go there again, I can't say that I would for a romantic dinner. It seems very businesslike.

Okitchen
*** (3-stars out of 4)
Yeouido-gu, Yeondongpu-dong 23-8
02-797-6420


T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

Smoked Salmon Salad at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea



T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

Eggplant Parmegian and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

T-bone Steak and fine dining dinner at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea


Homemade Strawberry poundcake

Dessert at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

Dessert at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea

Dessert at Okitchen Yeouido, Korea