Here are a few missing links from around the web:
- Is Outback Steakhouse the next American corp. to exit Korea?
- Kimchi gets some press in the WaPo–with no artificial nudging by Korean food promoters
- Roboseyo scores some cat poo coffee in Korea
- A Korea Herald article on Korean food in America, particularly restaurant Woo Lae Oak, that has a little more name dropping than anything new
- Seoul’s only ice bar
- Honduran chef formerly of Woo Lae Oak is the creative force behind the Korean restaurant Bann
- Choco Pies (or as we say in America, Moonpies) are going for $9.50 USD on the North Korean black market
- Oh, and ZenKimchi’s Patron Saint of Top Chef Eli Kirshstein was mentioned in plate’s newsletter–he’s guest executive chef at New York’s Solo. (registration required)
Wishful thinking, but I do wish death upon the chain of Outback Korea stores. They are the Wal-Mart/Starbucks of dining in Korea, and are crippling progress towards real food and dining in Korea. I’ve been so disappointed by Outback Korea so many times, I really do just wish it’d disappear forever; the ‘mushroom soup’ starter is the dry Ottugi powdered instant stuff, the steaks I’ve ordered have never been cooked as I ordered and once or more I ended up receiving the Korean seasoning in the steak (which completely negated my reason for going in the first place), I have no recollection of the green salads but I’m sure they featured canned fruits and/or yogurt dressing, and the tab for two eating steaks and having a beer probably broke into the 70-80K won range. I realize that all of the Korean kids that show up usually have some form of 30% mobile phone card discount and they come to share a single plate of food, but no tears here if Outback Korea were to bite the dust someday.
I think there is plenty in what David Hyun (of Smokey’s Saloon) is doing with Isabelle’s Porterhouse in Itaewon; i.e. a ‘premium’ steakhouse by Korean standards. He’s got his A+(+) grade Korean steaks and Australian wagyus dry aged for 21 days; they are pricey but worth the coin. His sides need a little work (his creamed spinach tastes more like a bowl of minced sigeumchi namul and no one has taught him that asparagus should be trimmed of the woody ends apparently… and I know where he gets all his stuff, it’s a big store that starts with a ‘C’) but his heart is in the right place. I see the premium steakhouse thing working marvelously in Korea, but knowing how things work here, it might require a brand name like a Ruth’s Chris et al outpost somewhere in Kangnam to work… I could stomach that a lot easier than seeing Outback after Outback though…
I’ve seen Isabella’s around and have heard blah about it. But good on him for attempting to do the classic steak house thing, all the way down to the creamed spinach. I agree about the premium steakhouse. It may, though, need to be altered for the Korean market by adding more vegetable sides. Classic New York steakhouses have only sparse vegetables as a formality.
I was at H Mart recently and saw everyone that passed a gigantic stack of Choco Pies take a box. I figured I should take one, too. They’re good. I’m just relieved there’s no red bean paste hidden inside.
Hey, I have some pleasant memories of the ‘mushroom soup’ by Ottugi! LOL! I actually crave it once in a while and have to jump in the car and head to the Korean grocery store and get some!