Amid city’s shifting culinary sands, an isle of consistent Italian cookerySince October 2001, Koo An has been an oasis for Seoul food lovers, standing above the fray of rapidly changing culinary trends and cut-throat competition. Located at the street level of the Welcomm City building across from Dongkuk University, Koo An offers a chic yet homey Italian cuisine and a comprehensive wine list.
Koo An’s glassy walls and chic exterior along with a simple white sign give the place a modern feel. Mainly composed of transparent and opaque glasses, the interior is simple, with clean lines. Owner Koo Ja-young personally selected everything from the tables and chairs to the ashtrays to create just the right atmosphere.
As for the food, the Mediterranean-style Italian fare is flavorful. There are 16 appetizers on the menu along with 15 pasta dishes and 19 seafood and meat entrees. The most popular appetizers are sauteed baby octopus, mushrooms and clams at 12,000 won ($10) for lunch and 15,000 won for dinner, and a fish-of-the-day salad for 19,000 won. The head chef and Mr. Koo visit a local fishmonger and select fresh fish every morning to serve with arrugola in the salad.
The seafood spaghetti with tomato sauce (14,000 won) and linguine with clam and chilis in a white wine sauce (13,000) are the most popular pasta dishes. The chilis in the linguine gets rid of the fishiness of the clams and gives you just a spicy little pat on the tongue. Oyster risotto with cream sauce (21,000 won) is also recommended.
The lamb chops (33,000 won), pan-fried in olive oil with garlic and herbs, is among the most popular entrees. There is not even a hint of the usual musty lamb smell, and the meat is not greasy. This dish is hearty, delicious and highly recommended.
Koo An also offers a chef’s special for lunch and dinner. For 35,000 won to 65,000 won for lunch and 45,000 won to 85,000 won for dinner, you can invite the chef to your table to prepare a meal any way you like. Other course menus are also available, ranging in price from 18,000 won to 55,000 won. Lunch and dinner course menus differ slightly.
The menu is updated every couple of months according to availability of ingredients.
The wine list comprises 74 selections, and Mr. Koo, who is quite knowledgeable when it comes to pairing food with wine, will make recommendations.
Location: Subway line No. 6, Dongkuk University Station, exit No. 1; 190-10 Jangchung-dong 2-ga
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner
Telephone: (02) 6325-6321
by Eugine Oh