Cycle 3 – Item 331
1 (Sat) December 2012
American New York Strip
at Butcher’s Cut
-Cheongdam, Gangnam, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with the Family, Mom + Dad, paternal relatives
Project 30/30/30: 31 of 45 (see also 45/45/45)
Throughout the past November, I challenged myself to eat 30 dishes from 30 countries over the course of 30 consecutive days – and succeeded.
With so many countries still available, I’ve decided to keep going until I run out of dishes or countries or restaurants or steam (it’s getting to be quite the pain in my ass) or money (it’s getting to be quite costly, eating out all the time).
The remaining candidates are, in no particular order: 1) China, 2) Malaysia, 3) Nepal, 4) Bangladesh, 5) Canada, 6) Brazil, 7) Ireland, 8) France, 9) Switzerland, 10) Germany, 11) Czech Republic, 12) Russia, 13) Kazakhstan, 14) Iran, 15) UAE, 16) Lebanon, 17) Egypt, and 18) USA. Remarkably, all of those countries are represented in Seoul by at least one restaurant. With just 2 additional countries done by me at home (e.g., pea soup for Finland), I could extend this project to cover 50 countries in all. That would be a feat in any city, anywhere in the world.
USA is the 31st country.
Butcher’s Cut is an American restaurant. Specializes in steak. Part of a local upscale aged-beef restaurant chain (see for example 3.106 Dry Aged Hanwoo 1++ Fielt Mignon Burger).
The occasion was the 1st birthday of my cousin HJ’s baby boy, also named Ian (Ian #2). The paternal side of the family gathered to celebrate. I wouldn’t be paying, so I could consider the food on its own merits.
The food didn’t disappoint. Value aside, the overpriced appetizers and sides were okay, for the most part, though nothing to rave about. Overall, the meal made for a proud representation of USA.
The New York Strip Steak was superb. Double whammy of hanwoo + ageing in a 2-step process of wet followed by dry (whatever that means). Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of hanwoo because the meat tends to be too marbled and therefore too rich for my tastes, but the sirloin’s relatively lean nature provided the right balance here. I’m also inclined to prefer the taste of American beef over Korean beef, which tends to be somewhat bland, but the steak here was intensely beefy in flavor, likely due to the aging. And perfectly seasoned, I enjoyed the big chunk of meat as is. At 62,000 won (+10%) for 300 grams, it wasn’t cheap, but a better value than eating hanwoo at a Korean barbecue restaurant next door, where prices may be double.
My father was outraged that the restaurant didn’t carry A-1 Steak Sauce. “How can a steakhouse not have steak sauce?!?!” When served the house condiments, he was further incensed. “What is this, a hotdog? Who eats steak with mustard?!?!”
If these kinds of stories are amusing on paper after the fact, they are not at all amusing live at the scene.
In keeping with the related theme of having an alcoholic beverage along with the food from the same country, I ordered a glass of American wine. Despite the price of 12,000 won (+10%) per glass, it was laughably cheap in character: no fruit yet jammy, short and flabby. A subsequent internet search revealed that the wine sells for under $10 per bottle in the States. No wonder American wines get such a bad rap in Korea.
Happy Birthday, Ian #2! Thanks for dinner!
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)