Dandy Pink

Reviewed by Jordan

Location: Gyeongridan/Itaewon
Cuisine: Tapas, Creative American, Bar Food
Price: $
Reservations: No
Suggested Items: Magpie Porter

Dandy Pink is a relatively new addition to the blooming culinary scene based around Itaewon’s Gyeongridan area, which is a dense hive of forward-thinking restaurants, bars, and bakeries.

On the night in question, I also visited the vibrant Caribbean-themed Tucan, Craftworks Brewery (now an institution), and Magpie Brewery’s open-air bar., all of which are within the same one or two block radius. Sadly, Dandy Pink was the extreme lowlight of an otherwise highly enjoyable drinking-and-eating spree. In fact, I didn’t go with the intention of reviewing a restaurant (thus the lack of photos), but was my date and I were so disappointed I thought it could be constructive to write something in hindsight.

My date and I visited on a night of one of their “Seasonal Soirees”. I thought, “What better time to finally check this place out than at a special event showcasing the restaurant’s philosophy?”

The weekend’s menu focused solely on monkfish. Having never tried it before, I thought the intense focus on an ingredient would yield a deep and intense revelation about the ugly-mugged fish I’d always wanted to try. I had a revelation or two but left with more questions than I arrived with.

Tucked away up a narrow, steep side street, the restaurant feels hidden away like a true gem should be. We were met with the presumed owner/chef outside tending to a charcoal grill, but there was no acknowledgement from him as we entered his (virtually empty) restaurant. Call me old-fashioned but a restaurant owner, especially the proprietor of a new place, should recognize new customers and do his best to make them feel welcomed. Service all night was cold and impersonal (and not even in the lovably sassy Korean way). We weren’t asked if we enjoyed anything or what we thought about the food. Judging by the quality, portion, and value of the dishes on offer, the owner should have been more concerned about his diner’s opinions.

Of the three dishes on offer, we ordered the monkfish skewers and “The Poor Man’s Lobster”, which was a smoked dish. The skewers, at ₩10,000 were passable, simple nuggets of firm, fleshy monkfish and cherry tomatoes served with a subtle garlic butter sauce and grilled on the restaurant’s outside charcoal station, which seems to be the real centerpiece of Dandy Pink’s concept. There was an accompanying salad of bean sprouts (more of the alfalfa variety but not exactly) that my date said was not to her taste but I found piquantly seasoned, if not a bit too oily.

My “Poor Man’s Lobster” should have been labeled “Rich Man’s Monkfish” as a received a thumb-sized sliver for princely sum of ₩12,000. The apple salad on the side was fairly pleasant and refreshing. The lonely Saltine crackers a broke man’s crostini. The flavor of the smoked monkfish was reminiscent of liquid smoke to my uneducated palette; a mistake that could have easily been remedied with a much larger portion.

The glaring oversight of our meal was perhaps not ordering the “foie gras of the ocean,” the monkfish liver plate. However, just like the other dishes, this one at ₩15,000 won, I’m not convinced the quality and quantity would have matched the price. In fact, the highlight of our meal turned out to be the complimentary dish of fragrant dried fruit (낑깡 and strawberries).

I understand that Dandy Pink’s concept is tapas, done in a creative way and meant to be enjoyed with a drink in hand, but, at least on this occasion, there was a major incongruity between the cost and the actual value of what was on offer. After the aforementioned two tiny plates, a beer for me, and a glass of wine for her, we escaped paying ₩38,000 won for a disappointing beginning to our evening. The best things I can say about Dandy Pink is that it’s striving for something and the place has a decent ambiance about it. Perhaps another visit is in order when they are serving their regular menu, but after feeling so skinned by this showcase event, I hope they can work out their kinks in service, quality, portion, and price before I choose to go back.

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[venue id=510ba3d4e4b0a3ee3ef0a766]

Other Amenities: English menu

Phone: 010-5581-9441

Website: facebook.com/GRUB.DANDYPINK

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* Please help complete this review by adding information in the comments

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  • futureshocked

    Hmm, I think the author should maybe re-evalaute what he or she expects out of an eating experience.

    I was there on the night of the seasonal soiree myself. And although I’m admittedly a friend of the owner, I noticed them doing quite a bit to hang out with and entertain their customers. One thing to remember is that there are actually 2 owners. The white guy is the only chef, the Korean woman is in charge of pretty much everything else.

    With such a tight operation, it confuses me as to why the author wants a personal introduction, unannounced no less.

    I wasn’t a big fan of the smoked monkfish either, and I’m also confused as to how a bigger portion would have made you like it more…if the smoke flavor was to strong for you, it was too strong.

    And yes, you made a huge mistake by not ordering the foie gras.

    In all, the Monkfish night was pretty expensive, but the owners go through a lot to prep for these special occasions. Monkfish simply isn’t even served in Korea in any gourmet or neo-cuisine form…you payed 10,000W(~$8) to eat something that would, I’m not kidding, cost about $30 in New York right now. Please look up some prices for Monkfish Foie Gras and tell me that Dandy Pink’s offering wasn’t a deal.

    Nuff said.

    • Jordan Redmond

      Apologies for not seeing this until now, but I do feel the need to reply, no matter how late.

      To respond: you’re giving a lot of “strawman” arguments that show you didn’t really read my review very closely.

      Point 1: There was actually at least one other person in the kitchen doing plating of salads, etc. So, its definitely more than a two person operation.

      Point 2: Where do I say I want a “personal introduction”. I only say “acknowledgement”. Something akin to “How did you like the meal”, etc. I see owners at other, similar, yet busier establishments doing this all the time.

      Point 3: About the monkfish liver: I should have eaten it. I even acknowledged that fact.

      Point 4: The point about the skewers is this: larger quantity would help to make up for lack of quality, at least a little. Your point about price is misdirected because this isn’t NYC, its Seoul, where a large serving of agujjim can be had for 25,000 won. Also, I’m not sure how grilling a skewer of monkfish is any more “neo-cuisine” than what ajjumas do all the time. And there were saltines on my plate. Gourmet?

      All in all, criticism is meant to help a place improve, not to simply tear down. If you had actually paid attention during my review, I compliment the restaurant a number of times. I hope on my next visit that I can leave more satisfied.