The other day, I got to attend a food tasting for my dad’s new restaurant, which will be opening at the beginning of July. It’s another Japanese restaurant, but the concept is Japanese food that is eaten in the Japanese household. I believe this was one of my first food tastings, and it was a lot of fun. We got to eat with Rainy, one of the most famous food critics in South Korea, and there were also quite a few bottles of champagne, which didn’t hurt.
First of all, as expected, the portions were small. The chef had prepared meals and dishes beforehand to show my dad and his partners what the food would like like when presented in the restaurant. So for example, we would be shown this, as kind of the full picture: But then, we would get just a portion of that to try in small dishes. There were definitely some standout dishes, and some that were fantastic, just not exactly what we might be looking for (I personally had to stop myself from devouring everything that was put in front of me considering the portion size). But the chef and the others would take careful note of what should and shouldn’t be changed. As someone who has cooked before, I only had the utmost respect for the chef. We were there critiquing his passion and joy. Was a dish too bland? Too salty? Another great part of this was that I actually got to eat with the most famous food critic in Korea- Rainy. As Rainy talked, he would note what might appeal to a Korean about a dish, what would appeal to someone on the South side of the river aka Gangnam and to someone on the North side.
There was also a few lunch special options that were presented, but Rainy said that visually, one of them was pretty, but the these specials, considering the price, would need something special. The partners predicted that this restaurant will be a hit with Japanese visitors who were tired of eating the usual sushi. But it might take some more thought and effort to appeal to the general Korean public. What makes a restaurant successful is that the food is so good that they want to come back for more, not just a “oh that was good,” and forget about it. As I learn more and more, the restaurant and food business is becoming increasingly complicated.
This duck dish was definitely one of my favorites – incredibly flavorful – as was the beef dish from above – so tender!! But one of my favorite facts was one of the more simple ones. The chef presented us with Ginger and Yuzu Soju, a Korean distilled rice alcohol. Upon so, Rainy told us that the Yuzu Soju goes great with extra lemons and ice, to counter the sweetness and create a fresh beverage. It’s like he knows just how to make everything taste just a little better. I have yet to consider the culinary and gastronomical world as a living, but it was so interesting to hear somebody so passionate about it share his knowledge with us.
First of all, I hope that this restaurant does well, and I’ll keep you guys posted. But I also hope I get to do more food tastings soon, meeting many more chefs and food lovers alike!!