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Blog, Restaurant Reviews, South Seoul

Review: Duck Fat Fries and Pork Cracklings at Hopscotch Gastropub

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When I think of Gastropubs I am reminded of bar hopping in Portland Oregon and in NYC. The bars are serious about their drinks as well as their food. There is a bit of haughty pretentiousness when you enter these establishments and you should prove you know your shit or you’ll lose credibility and then it will take forever to get a drink.

Recently, I was invited to Hopscotch Gastropub by the owner Brian so I obliged to check out their fare. It is located off the main drag and it doesn’t even have a name sign. It is tucked behind
Imposing steel doors marked by lit by industrial lights and a red neon sign that looks like a cubist daisy.

Inside the interior has a MC Escher, industrial feel and lit by antique Edison lamps. The place has a speakeasy-feel and makes you imagine secret poker games and bootlegging in the back rooms. The good thing is that in the back room they are churning out amazing food to go with wide selection of beers, cocktails, and scotches.

We started with some pork cracklings that kept popping as they came to the table. These were fun to eat but I think could have used more Cajun spice. The shiitake mushroom fries were excellent with the garlic aioli and Parmesan cheese. This was followed by an excellent citrus salad that was topped with cranberry, avocado, mandarin oranges, sugared pecans, cucumbers and tomatoes. The salad was one of the best I have had in a while and it reminded me of San Francisco.

We had a few more appetizers such as their bacon-topped Mac-and-cheese. This was ok, at least it didn’t have corn in it but the use of pasta of different sizes was a tad confusing and I think it could have used more cheese (but I think everything deserves more cheese). The steak chili was hearty and had good homestyle flavor.

The star was the duck fries. These were thin splinters of potato that were sumptuously crispy that has a rich foie gras taste. You start eating one and then just keep going back until they are all gone. Yummy.

For the main, we had the roast chicken with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes. This was a simple dish done right. The skin was crispy and the potatoes were creamy.

For dessert we had a delicious chocolate cake (how delicious I can’t remember because of all the beer.)

Hopscotch has a great beer selection and has a good selection of local and international brews. They have cocktails but no wines. They take their scotches seriously and will serve you a ice sphere in your rocks glass (that the chef cuts himself).

Overall, this is a great find. It’s not cheap for beers start at 7,000 won each. Food is reasonable with small plates starting at 9,000 won and entrees at 14,000. It’s a great atmosphere and your friends and colleagues will up your cool factor for taking them to this great little gastro-pub.

Hopscotch Gastropub
강남구 논현동 113-20
Gangnam-gu Nonhyeon-dong 113-20
phone: 025110145
Directions: If you take a cab, they will drop you off near the Gastropub, but you’ll have to walk down the side-street next to the Kia dealership and make the first left. You’ll see the metal doors up ahead.

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Non-Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, South Seoul

Guest Post: Conveyor-Belt Sushi in Gangnam–You’ll Never want to Leave!

Here is another Guest Review. This one is written by Bigskyseoul from the blog C.R.E.A.M . If you would like to write a guest review go here.

Thanks Big Sky for the Review,

Dan
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“Gangnam is full of illustrious restaurants to fit any appetite, but if you’re in the mood for sushi (and come on, why wouldn’t you be?) then get on the waiting list at 갓덴스시.

As you take exit 12 from Gangnam station walk only a few dozen feet to find 갓덴스시 on your left, just up some stairs. You might have to put your name on a waiting list as the place has a solid following. Trust me though, it is worth the wait.

Take a seat at one of the many tables adjacent to the conveyor belt and wait until you see something tantalizing pass by. It won’t be long. Glance across the room to see others on a sushi treasure hunt, trying to distinguish the name of what’s passing them by on the large color menu.

After sampling a wide range of various sushi it was clear that everything, yes everything, was delicious. If you have your eye on something you’ve seen on the menu but doesn’t seem to be making it’s track around the restaurant, no worries, just request it from one of the many sushi chefs.

Two personal favorites had to be the Seared Beef as well as the Shrimp Tempura Roll (which we had to request).

You can order sake by the bottle as well if you’re looking to get your drink on with your sushi.

In a word–indulge. Your taste buds will be in sushi heaven. The price is more than reasonable. Focus more on your food than your wallet.

**** 4 Stars: Recommended: A place you would recommend your close friends

Price: $$$ 20-80 USD

Address: 갓덴스시 (Gatten Sushi) “822-4 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul,

Phone: +82 2 2051 1477

http://gattenkor.cafe24.com/main.html”

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Non-Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, South Seoul

Cajun Dinner at Pier 17 on Garusugil

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Tasting notes.

Drinks are sweet but very inventive. I got a blue margarita with sharks in it. The sharks were filled with strawberry daquiri. Good drinks and great if you are in a festive New Orleans mood.

I ordered the couples tasting menu (~30,000) We started with the Oysters Rockefeller. They were cute but needed more seasoning. The green bread crumbs that try battered it with didn’t make it amazing. The Po boy sandwich tasted great. I loved the spicy remolade and the veggies on the bread. I don’t know if it was homemade bread but it was very good. The star of all the dishes was the chicken gumbo. It was flavor rich with cajun spices, okra, dirty rice, chicken and sausage. It was thick gumbo i prefer, but the flavor was spot on with the right mix of cayenne, celery salt and garlic. The gumbo is proof that chef has some skills.

We also got a shrimp course and the shrimp came out plump and poppy and the breading was crisp.

There was one little problem. The oysters Rockefeller had a little piece of plastic in it. We brought it up to the staff and they quickly reified it. They offered to replace it or take it off the bill and they were very apologetic.

The atmosphere is great as well but the chair seating is a bit cramped and the chairs make a lot of noise.

Anyway, I would recommend this place if you are looking for some Cajun in Seoul.

Pier 17
Rating: 2.5 stars (good food and atmops

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Restaurant Reviews, South Seoul

Galbijjim at Gangnam Myeonok

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So, I got a letter from Steve who is visting Seoul:

Dan,

Love the blog. Thanks so much. So I’m visiting Seoul and I need a recommendation for Kalbijim. Do you have a favorite place?

S.

Hi Steve, thanks for reading the blog and sure I do. Here it is.

Dan

Gangnam Myeonok

Galbijjim has become one of those ubiquitous dishes that show up everywhere. The appearance of this at an event signified that this was truly a special occasion. It must have something to do with the slowly braised ribs in a seasoned soy/sesame marinade. One of the reason it is special is the rare and expensive ingredients: beef ribs. The second reason is the time it takes to make this dish. One of the best places to get this is at Gangnam Myeonok. Here the galbijjim is cooked so finely that it literally melts off the bone and becomes delicious savoriness in your mouth. The sauce is incredible. It is a soy-sesame beef gravy that has a hint of sweetness. This dish pairs well with their homemade kimchis and their beef broth soup. You’ll be eating every bit of the beef and then you’ll be using your rice to sop up all the sauce.

Delicious.

Gangnam Myeonok 강남면옥

Gangnam-gu Sinsa-dong 588-9 강남구신사동 588-9

02-3446-5539 (+82 2 3446-5539)

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Restaurant Reviews, South Seoul

Guest Post: Gastro Pub from a Fat Girl’s Food Guide

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Here is a guest post from A Fat Girl’s Food Guide written and photographed by the fabulous Gemma. It has been reprinted with permission. Be sure to check our her great cooking and eating tips.

Thanks Gemma,

Dan

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Another day, another gastro-pub. Just around the corner from my job is the aptly named  Gastro Pub. We spotted it quite a while ago now but didn’t really think it would be up to much, so we never investigated further. However last night we were released from work rather early. There was time before the bus came so we thought we would take a look at the menu. The place was so much bigger than I had expected and not what I had imagined at all. We’re hardly in a desolate wasteland of restaurants but I certainly wasn’t expecting anything like this.

A big industrial warehouse type space. This restaurant is very deceiving from the outside. A huge long bar greets you as you enter then a large sized restaurant is beyond, with a large terrace at the back which would be perfect for some summertime drinking. An open spaced kitchen fills one long wall. I’ve always admired these, as I like to see what I’m getting. This gastro-pub has more New York feel than English Style homeliness of Reilly’s, but is cool and sleek none the less.

A gastro-pub inspired menu awaits, printed on newspaper style menus that seem to be all the rage these days. A mix of salads, pastas, burgers and grilled meats. They also have various imported beers and a large variety of bottles.Sadly no cocktails were on the menu, but they did have a nice variety of soft drinks and smoothies. Next time I’ll be sure to bring along my trusty hip flask and make some myself. They had a taster of beers. You could choose 5 out 7. This worked really well for us, my boyfriend got to have his real beer and I got my ladies lager. It was only 14,000 for 5 but we went during happy hour and got an extra 20% off which we thought was very reasonable.

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On to the food. We chose the fish and chips. I was still in the middle of taking a few pictures when this rocked up at lightning speed. There were 3 pieces on the plate and a mountain of shoe string fries (they were so thin, I probably could have tied my shoes with them). The fish was coated in a light and crispy batter. Coming from the land of fish and chips I like mine nice and thick. I’m not a huge fan of fish so for me the batter is the star attraction. However the fish here was good. The winner on this plate was the home-made tartare sauce, sharp and tasty, I could have eaten twice as much.

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I was keen to try the prime burger. I am a burger girl through and through and would probably choose this for my last meal on earth. This one looked pretty damn good when it rocked up, slathered with cheese and caramelized onions but sadly didn’t make me go “Mmm” when I bit into it. It was fine and I certainly could have eaten another one but it didn’t really live up to its 20,000 won price tag. I would rather pay the extra 5,000 and get the burger at Reilly’s, or go toBurger B and eat 2! Another point to mention is that this burger was very rare, the blood was actually seeping out on to  the plate. Personally I like my meat still mooing but I know for a lot of people this can pose a problem, especially since the waiter didn’t ask us how we would like it cooked. The burger too came with a mountain of fries. I loved these chips but after a while I still couldn’t see the mountain going down. They gave a choice while ordering of salad or fries but I think a little of both would have been preferable.

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The majority of these dishes available are around the 15,000 – 20,000 mark but they also have a 1kg steak available for 150,000 or a 750g rack of lamb for a mere 120,000.  The people at the next table had the steak and I have to say it was pretty large but I don’t know if I would pay that much for a steak and have to share it. I think this restaurant is more of a Korean style with the larger dishes that are good for sharing. They also had a few desserts on the menu but I couldn’t partake as I had eaten too many chips!

Gastro Pub is located at 810-2 Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Naebang station(line number 7) and come out exit 7. Walk straight until you pass the BMW dealership and make a right. Directly in front of you should be Gastro Pub. The nearest bus stop is 22-222. You can call them on 02-537-17222. Or check out their website.

See more great pictures here: http://afatgirlsfoodguide.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/gastro-pub/

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