I have already had a crepe, handmade sausage and a duck baguette sandwich. The market is bustling and there is so much to see and eat.
Stop by. It is open till 3pm.
Darn. Darn. Darn. One of. My favorite places, Shim Yang, has an hour late and I have a hankering for lamb skewers. One of my friends suggested we head to Gangnam Station because he said he knew the original lamb place that Shim Yang stole the concept from.
Hmmm. So we found the place. It is down from the new exit 11 and then you make a right at Paris Baguette and go up the hill. It looks like a Chinese restaurant and it has a Chow Young-Fat feel to it.
Here the food has an nostalgic feel to it. It seems it is trapped in an 50′d Shanghai Movie and hasn’t adapted to modern tastes. The chilies are served with black bean sauce, the peanuts are sweet and the veggies are slippery.
The taste of the lamb redeems the place. It is rich and savory and dusted with herbs. I recommend you give it a try if Shim Yang is too full.
Last week I was fortunate to visit Jungsikdang with some guests. With all the press that this restaurant is getting in the states, I was interested to see if the quality of his flagship restaurant had suffered or not.
I have a long history with this restaurant and I have been to it numerous times in the past few years since it opened. I have introduced this restaurant and to journalists and I have written numerous articles on the establishment. I have been critical at times for I thought and still think that the chef should have worked harder to hone his craft in Seoul before making the leap to NYC.
I made reservations a few days in advance and they were quickly and easily made. When I arrived, the hosts happily greeted us. I have to admit that service has greatly improved from the beginning. I would say that the level of service is one of the tops in the country.
The atmosphere is quaint and at noon on a Wednesday it is surprisingly lively. In the private room there is a baby shower and around our table fashionable girls are chatting about new styles and guys they think are hot.
I ordered an array of different dishes off the lunch menu, (a 6 course luck came to 40 to 60,000 won a person).
The first course was an amuse bouche course that had a delightful tofu flan, a lobster chip and aioli, and a refeshing grape and cucumber salad.
Next was the salad course. I had a fresh salad that had a umami-rich Kim dressing and my guests had a tomato-foam salad. My quarter of iceberg lettuce was crisp and topped with various veggies, bacon, and seaweed dressing. It was a good palate cleanser and the idea to use dried seaweed as a dressing was an inspired idea.
Course 3 was the starch course- which is against Korean standards (rice is always the next to last course in Korea). I had a poppy barley rice with crisp anchovies and 3 spheres of pickled turnip.
My guests had a spicy noodle dish and another had crisp pork belly over rice. I have to say that my dish was the best because of the mix of flavor and texture.
The main course came next. I had snapper with crisp scales on top and a spicy oil soup. There was also a salmon and sous vide beef dish. The star was the samgyetang (chicken and ginseng) dish that had a tube of ginseng, pinenuts and much more over a disk of sous vide chicken sitting in broth. The execution and the taste of this dish was outstanding.
The dessert came next and I had the raspberry dessert which was rich and tart. I remember tasting the Makgeolli dessert and this was not so good. It tasted too heavily of alcohol and the texture of rice cake was a bit too spongy to be palatable.
Overall, besides the Makgeolli dessert, Jungsikdang was a wonderful experience and my guests loved it. They told me that they would bring their guests there.
I also found it refreshing and a meal that I relish.
I also am willing to accept that maybe Mr. Jungsik Yim is ready for the world stage.
Go get him tiger.