Review: Duck Fat Fries and Pork Cracklings at Hopscotch Gastropub
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.
강남구 논현동 113-20
Gangnam-gu Nonhyeon-dong 113-20
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.