I'm just back from a trip to Seoul, and I got some great tips from the boards here. So I wanted to return the favor and post about a place that I discovered through a friend of a friend. Once in a while you come across a place that's just right - food, atmosphere, people. I found myself there 3-4 times on a 7 day visit.
Ceramic House is the charmingly amusing English name (Ong-Gi Jip in Korean) of a delightful little place that specializes in quality pork belly grilled on traditional ceramic grills at the table. The quirky, contemporary decor is a refreshing foil to the serious Korean meat, which is among the best I've had in Seoul. They also have other dishes - I liked their little bento-type box, made to be reminiscent of schoolkids' meals - with rice, meat, egg, and veggies. You add sauce, close it and shake it up, like kids in Korea do. Very fun, and it was nostalgic for the Korean peeps. The place overall is very laid back. No awkwardness about foreigners, no judgy servers. Just good people.
The owner is a funky young guy who, it seems, grew up in a family somewhat famous for its traditional BBQ restaurant. He went on to study modern food styling and then opened Ceramic House, which pays homage to great traditional meats while creating a very fresh, young, almost artistic atmosphere. We chatted with him for a bit - his English is decent, and he's a cool guy, very passionate about what he does.
The light is a little low in there, so my food pictures didn't come out well. But here's a couple of the place from the website just to give you an idea.
Anyway, if you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to go with friends or even on a date, check it out. Tell Jae Won (the owner) that CC from LA says hi. He'll be the guy with the shaved head and big glasses.
As with lots of places in Seoul, it can be a little hard to find:
Yeoksam-Dong 810-16 in Gangnam
Line 9. Sinnonhyeon Station, Exit 4. Come out and make the second right (it's a small street). Go straight until you reach the next small street. You'll see the restaurant to your right.