- Rated 4.5 stars
- AmbienceEditor: 95%
- FoodEditor: 90%
- ServiceEditor: 95%
- ValueEditor: 85%
One of the debates in the Korean food world these days is if it can work as fine dining, if it should work as fine dining, and how. Personally, I have come across so many ham handed efforts that I had admittedly grown cynical. I'm starting to shift. Especially with a restaurant like Myongwolgwan.
In full disclosure, I was invited as a guest to have lunch there, but I was upfront that my words and opinions on this site would be my own. I tell ya right now, it was good, especially for beef lovers. They specialize in Hanu beef and source from a reliable distributor. This is a type of beef that should only be gently touched by heat. In fact, it's the best meat for raw applications, like YukHui.
The YukHui was skillfully sliced into tiny uniform ribbons before being mixed with sesame oil, salt, pepper, and other ingredients, served with some slivers of Korean pear and a couple of pine nuts. I'm happy with this alone. Not much needed to be done with it. It's very easy to overdress YukHui, but this version let the beef be the star.
The banchan was colorful, and not one of the dishes was dull. The kimchi is an old Chosun dynasty recipe that doesn't use fermented ocean critters--more akin to Buddhist temple style kimchi. Even though EJ wasn't there, she loved the picture of the anchovies up front so much that it's our current desktop wallpaper.
There was no skimping on the banchan either. It looked and ate like a feast.
Natural wood charcoal embers were placed in the middle of the table, and some gorgeous steaks came out.
Oh, let me put on my Gordon Ramsay MasterChef voice.
The most stunning, the most amazing steaks!(I've been watching a lot of MasterChef on iTunes lately.)
The servers are specially trained grillmasters, and they do all the cooking for you so you can sit back and relax. No worries on burning a piece of that beautiful steak.
Wrap it in a little perilla leaf kimchi with some garlic.
Or really, this is the best way to enjoy it. Just kissed with Korean sea salt.
Next up was some marinated beef short ribs, scored for flavor and tenderness. The meat is marinated in natural fruit and vegetable juices and allowed to soak for two weeks. Yes, two weeks!
I usually like pork unadorned, but this was succulent.
And I can't resist some primal bone gnawing.
In traditional Korean fashion, we finished the meal with some Naengmyeon, chilled buckwheat noodles. They were smooth and satisfying. Delicately presented and deeply flavored.
Let's talk about the restaurant itself. Myongwolgwan has been around since 1984. The dining room is warm with clean lines, hinting of a natural landscape of wood, rock and water.
There are spaces for banquets and private dining also.
The exterior is a classic Korean style, where a master painter hand paints the roofs and columns every few years.
Myongwolgwan is located on Walkerhill. A free shuttle bus makes regular runs there from Gwangnaru Station (line 5) and Gangbyeon Station (line 2). This is one of the more upscale Korean restaurants in Seoul, so expect to pay between W50,000 and W100,000 a person. The lunch I had was around W90,000. There's actually a menu item that is the whole shebang for W1,000,000. That said, it feeds at least ten people, so break it down, and it's not so bad for a memorable feast. You can also order galbi sets as gifts.
Location: Sheraton Walkerhill
Cuisine: Korean, Fine Dining
Suggested Items: Beef Galbi, Yukhwe
Other Amenities: English spoken, Valet parking
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