Banchan: Ko-Chi in NYC, Gagnaire Pics, Maangchi, and a Seoul Eats Valentine

Joe DiStefano finds great Korean Chinese food in NYC

Korean Blogger Happy End goes to Pierre Gagnaire Seoul. I had heard that they didn’t allow pics.  Go figure.

Maangchi is featured on KBS

Seoul Eats gives and onslaught of Valentine’s Day restaurant options, so you have no excuse now

Thinking… what are good Valentine’s Day eateries or (from the perspective of a former food industry hack) is it worth the trouble going out?

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2 thoughts on “Banchan: Ko-Chi in NYC, Gagnaire Pics, Maangchi, and a Seoul Eats Valentine”

  1. If that is true, I can understand why Gagnaire doesn’t want pictures taken at his place. Food blogging is great, but I do think there should be consideration given to people within the restaurant who don’t want to be disturbed – and I’ve seen little Asian girls break out tripods, spot lighting, and reflectors, on the middle of a dining room floor. I’m not the type to be able to photograph the food I eat, and so my camera stays at home, at dinner time. I wouldn’t mind if the food bloggers had a little P+S with a high ISO capability and discreetly took photos, but it’s pretty distracting otherwise.

    I ate at Hakatabunko this evening and I had to literally dodge 5 people’s cameras as I walked in the door to get dinner; they were all out front taking pictures. Completely bizarre, yet I know what they are doing. Inconvenient, to say the least.

    I also ate at Gagnaire a few days ago; maybe he just doesn’t want too many photos taken of his Seoul menu, because of what he’s putting in there – cheeses that are probably bought at either Costco or the basement of Lotte (I don’t think I need to go to Gagnaire and pay that much to eat Emmentaler or Gorgonzola, I have them at home courtesy of every department store in Korea), meat and produce that aren’t of any higher grade than you’d expect. It’s not that it’s bad food, but then again, that kind of money in this country seems like it should go a bit further, and I expect a little more if they want to really own that ‘best restaurant in Korea’ title.

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  2. It may surprise everyone, but I feel the same way about photography in restaurants. Disturbing everyone with flashy photography is in the same category as letting screaming five-year-olds rollerskate through the restaurant. Whenever I take pics, I try to be as discreet and–here’s the key–fast as possible. I also refuse to use a flash unless–no, I never use a flash. I have enough Photoshop skills from one of my previous careers to make up for that.

    I’ve been hearing mixed about Gagnaire. My big criticism of French restaurants in Korea is that for a people obsessed with “terroir” it only applies to French terroir. The sign of a good chef is what he can do with what is available–not by importing every ingredient he’s most comfortable with and making stubborn Xerox copies of his recipes wherever he goes.

    But I agree. I don’t think sourcing from Costco works with being a locavore. Especially at those prices, which is why I have yet to eat there. If you’re going to blow my credit card, you’d better blow my mind.

    Chef Im Jeong Sik of Jeong Sik Dang comes to mind on this. His menu is half the price of the hotels because he sources locally, and his food has surprising and playful flavors. Even Chef Kim Hu-nam of Star Chef, which is not fine dining, tops a lot of other white tablecloth restaurants with his flavors that he gets from his organic farm. His sausages are actually made at one of the Korean universities. These are chefs who see what they have and don’t have and play to the strengths rather than trying to alter the game.

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