I was invited by 10 Magazine to attend the opening night of Maple Tree House in Myeongdong to take some photos for their next issue, so I thought I'd share a few here. Maple Tree House is an upscale Korean Barbeque restaurant owned by the same owner as Ho Lee Chow, the American-style Chinese restaurant chain, and is located in the same building as Ho Lee Chow as well.
Beef Sirloin (photo only)
We were escorted to our table and a table top grill was immediately brought over along with our first dish of the evening, Jeju black pig ogyupsal (not samgyupsal). The pork was delicious, but the boyfriend was especially impressed by the grill itself. On the surface, it looked like your typical metal grill, but upon close inspection, we realized that the metal grates were concave especially designed to catch the fat and drain it off the grill without dripping into the fire.
Then came along the second course, pineapple hanwoo (Korean beef). What an amazing combination! Tender, marinated Korean beef with pineapple was certainly my favorite for the evening, I just wish it had come with more than two slices of pineapple, I wanted the beef/pineapple conbo in every bite!
Then, when we thought we must be done, they asked if we would like the 식사 (meal), and were offered jjigae or noodles. We both went with the noodles, so we tried both the naengmyeon (buckwheat noodles) and the ssalmyeon (rice noodles). As you can see from the photo, they really went over the top on presentation here, but the taste was also excellent!
I also wanted to mention the panchan (side dishes) as they were quite nice as well. Green onions to go along with the meat, a delicious spinach-like dish called 참나물 (Cham-namul) which apparently has no English translation after checking two different dictionaries, garlic kimchi, and pickled mushrooms. A rather unique selection of side-dishes for panchan fans out there.
Finally, the interior of the restaurant was very nice. Copper-plated tables, clean and modern appearance. The only element of confusion I had was the fact that the interior was filled with really nice birch trees, despite the restaurant's name. But, if you can ignore this one little oddity, it's got a really, really nice atmosphere.
I highly recommend Maple Tree House the next time you're looking for some barbeque in a place with a little more class than your local 고깃집. They have locations in Samcheong-dong, Dogok-dong, Itaewon and Myongdong. Now I'm a little curious to try Ho Lee Chow next...
Check out their website: http://www.mapletreehouse.co.kr/. I hope they add some more languages to their site soon for foreigners. As of the time of this blog posting, the site is only in Korean.