Ape with Pipe Review

Here is a copy of the review that I wrote for Eloquence Magazine. And by the way, this is the correct version before it was edited.

I must add, I went there last night and it was a blast. It is a wonderful lounge to hang out in and have a couple of martini's. I heard they just revamped their menu. I'll have to go back and give it another try.


Ape with Pipe

(Ratings are out of 4 stars)
Food **
Atmosphere ***
Service ***
Value **
Location: Itaewon
Mediterranean Bistro
Open: Mon-Sun 11-12:30

Contributed by Daniel Gray dining@eloquence.co.kr

On top of the hill across from Noksopyeong station, you might notice a walkway lined the most peculiar round stones in front of a quaint wooden gate that leads downstairs to some place named “Ape with Pipe.” Next time, let curiosity kill the cat and take a gander.

You will instantly be impressed with the atmosphere. The restaurant has an eclectic music mix and the interior- outlined in wood and brick- feels warm. I went there with two friends of mine for dinner and we sat out on the balcony, which is quite possibly the best in Itaewon. Being so high above the scurrying madness below, the balcony fosters a feeling of intimacy.

We started out with the Tzatziki and the Greek Salad- it being a Mediterranean restaurant and all. I was not impressed. It was obviously not goat’s milk yogurt. It was far too watery and it lacked that garlic cucumber punch that tzatziki should have. Also, the bread was too dense for the sauce. The salad was beautifully presented with flavorful black olives and an ample amount of feta cheese, but had only three leaves of romaine lettuce.

So, on to the entrees, and we took the waitress’s suggestion and got the Provencal Marinated Clams, Red Snapper with Red Piment Sauce, and the Beef Skewers. The presentations were top notch and the serving size generous. But other than the clams, the entrees didn’t come out hot. The skewers were cooked to medium but needed more of a char; the vegetables were nicely roasted, but suffered from the overuse of dried seasoning.

The Provencal Marinated Clams were the high point of the meal. The white wine, tomato sauce complemented the clams and I would have been happier if the clams were suggested as the appetizer- or simply the entire meal. And the sour dough bread that was too dense for he Tzatziki was perfect for sopping up every ounce of the sauce.

The Red Snapper was very moist and flaky-expertly cooked, but the sauce was utterly flavorless. We regretted not getting the lemon garlic sauce. Similar to the vegetables with the skewers, the ratatouille styled vegetables would have benefited from fresh thyme, rather than dry.

And then we waited. We were hoping to get dessert, but it wasn’t offered. And my rule is: if dessert isn’t offered, then it must not be worth getting.
Overall, Ape with Pipe’s atmosphere is it’s key draw. The wine prices are reasonable, but the entrees are a bit pricey- in the W25-30,000 range. The restaurant is like the university freshman that has yet to declare a major. It needs to focus and find it’s identity.

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