Occidental Eats

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Occidental Eats 
SEOUL food columnist Dan Gray introduces two great Western eateries near Itaewon

Written and photographed by Daniel Gray

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Dominic | 도미닉
(Hannam-dong)

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Dominic in Hannam-dong is all about steak. You order a hunk of wet-marinated steak by weight and they grill it up and then serve it in a sizzling pan, Peter Luger-style. With your steak you get to pick an assortment of sides like baked mac n’ cheese, creamed spinach, salads, and more. The interior has a stylish New York loft feel to it, with very cool lights that are x-ray slides of light bulbs. To the back of the restaurant are large windows that showcase Seoul’s cityscape. The place is surprisingly intimate. The façade of the restaurant is cleverly behind a wall that shields the restaurant from the cold and the noise from the road. It is a perfect place for a business meeting or a date.

The service is polite and the food is tasty. On my first visit I started with an order of bruschetta. The bread was crispy and the bruschetta was topped with caramelized onion flavored with balsamic vinegar and fresh tomato, basil, and grated Parmesan cheese.

For the meal I ordered 300 grams of the rib eye (48,000 won, or 16,000 won for 100 grams), which was more than adequate to feed two (or possibly three). I ordered it medium, but it continued to cook in the sizzling, cast-iron pan. Next time I would probably get it rare. The steak was flavorful and good with the horseradish and Dijon mustard that came along with it.

To accompany the steak I ordered the creamed spinach and mac n’ cheese. The spinach was my favorite dish. It was very flavorful, and the hunk of bread that sopped up the cream was a treat. For my starch I got the mac n’ cheese, which had a very crispy, cheesy top and oven-baked corn. For dessert, I recommend the decadent chocolate souffle. The wine list is impressive as well, with many selections from around the world, such as a Pennywise Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (50,000 won).

Overall, if you are looking for a good date spot that will impress your companion, Dominic is definitely worth a visit.

 

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Dominic | 도미닉
Great atmosphere, good NYC-style food

FYI>
Hours: 11am–11pm (weekdays);
11am–midnight (weekends)
Cost: 15,000–50,000 won per person
T. 02-790-7588
(683-133 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul | 서울시 용산구 한남동 683-133)

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Itaewon Station 이태원역 (Line 6), Exit 3


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Reilly’s Taphouse and Restaurant | 라일리스탭하우스
(Itaewon)

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Itaewon hasn’t always been one of the hot nightlife centers of Seoul. Itaewon used to have a bad reputation, which gave many expats the opportunity to set up businesses and restaurants here. One of these expats is the wily and affable Wayne Gold, who has had several businesses and bars over the years. His latest endeavor is Reilly’s Taphouse and Restaurant, which has over 20 domestic and international beers on tap including local favorites such as Magpie Porter, Geumkang Dark Ale, and even some of their own, like Reilly’s Peninsula Dark Ale. They have beers that I haven’t even seen in Korea before, such as Belgium ales and tripels. Reilly’s treats beers like wines. On their menu they even suggest beer pairings for the food. It is nice to know the brew pub is focusing on their entire concept and not just making food an afterthought.

The food is quite good as well. It is a mix of hipster gastropub and greasy pub fare. The onion rings are thick and the paprika dipping sauce is excellent. I thought the rosemary in the batter was a bit of overkill, but the beer batter made the rings quite crispy. They have an assortment of mussels as well, such as with tomato or cream sauce. The Scotch eggs were the best appetizer I tried. They are big and the egg is slightly yolky, with crisp pork and breading on the outside. Wow. The marinara sauce under it was rich and delicious as well. The marinara sauce was so good that next time I will have to get the meatballs.

They also have entrees. The tenderloin, served over potatoes and baked apples, showed that the chef had some skill. This was a hearty meal big enough to share, and the bourbon cream sauce matched it well. I have been told by several people that the star entree on the menu is the braised lamb shank with sweet potato. I will have to get that next time.

They have a giant burger as well. It is a feast and not one for sharing because the thick beef patty is topped with onion rings and veggies and held together with a huge steak knife. Once you grab on to this burger you just have to finish it.

Overall, a great hangout spot and a place to get good food. Next time you are in Itaewon, be sure to check it out.

 

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Reilly’s Taphouse and Restaurant | 라일리스탭하우스
Great beer selection and food

FYI>
Hours: 5pm–2am (weekdays); 11am–3am (weekends)
Cost: 10,000–20,000 won per dish
T. 02-792-6590
(123-32 Itaewon 1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul | 서울시 용산구 이태원1동 123-32)

GO>
Itaewon Station 이태원역 (Line 6), Exit 2


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