3rd Fl, 649-7 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu
HOURS: Mon.-Sat. noon-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.
COST: Entrées more than ₩25,000
SUBWAY: Apgujeong (Line 3)
The vanguard of self-billed “new Korean” dining, Jungsikdang was opened in 2009 by a young Korean chef previously based in New York City who wanted to apply contemporary culinary techniques to Korean cuisine. While the results have been dismissed by a few purists, they’ve delighted the city’s diners and generated buzz on a global scale.
The menu is limited to a handful of set course meals that feature visually daring, highly augmented takes on traditional Korean dishes, and Western delicacies incorporating local ingredients. Prices are high, but where else will you have the opportunity to sample such creations as sujebi—hand-pulled noodles that customarily sit in a rather bland soup—in a bacon and puréed hot chili broth, or paella with baby octopus and Korean seaweed?
Contrary to the inventiveness displayed on the plate, the restaurant’s interior is modern but restrained, with the most outstanding feature a wall-sized window overlooking leafy Dosan Park. Servers pride themselves on being prompt and knowledgeable, and are particularly adept at picking wines from Jungsikdang’s impressive list to pair with the dishes on offer.
© Jonathan Hopfner from Moon Seoul, 1st Edition