He Said/She Said: Apartamento Kitchen + Bar Restaurant Review (NEH Magazine)

A version of the following article was published in May’s “The Travel Issue” of NEH Magazine. Apartamento Kitchen + Bar is one of our favorite places, so it was a pleasure to write about it for NEH.

Click the link for the full visual experience, but here is the text from the article.

He said:
As the name suggests, Apartamento is relaxed. Not so much that you’re going to lounge on the couch and channel surf for reruns of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it’s kind of place you could comfortably sit for hours at a time over unique food and drinks, either with yourself or in a group. It’s tastefully decorated without the pretentious vibe that often comes from Garosu.

She said:
You can be an onlooker without having to battle the crowded streets as their balcony overlooks the renowned famous street, Garosu, in Sinsa-dong. It’s a lovely place to people watch. The restaurant hosted a vibrant, yet soothing backdrop to a warm and sunny spring day. This is the type of place you will frequent for a tasty espresso drink and a unique Italian lunch of sizable proportions. You will not only come to this place to pen in your journal and have a solo lunch, but it’s an ideal meeting place to have a few cocktails with your co-workers and friends. And the best place to bring your significant other for a romantic Italian lunch.

He said:
You’re not going to break the bank for dishes that frankly would cost you a lot more at other establishments.

She said:
The price was reasonable for a “foreign” restaurant. If you want to enjoy a variety of dishes, you still walk away with money in your pocket.

He said:
The menu is modern Italian, created with Korean taste preferences in mind while still holding true to classic Italian flavors. Salads, pastas, pizzas and hot sandwiches—it’s all there.

The spinello is where it’s at. Think gourmet pizza rolled into a tasty sandwich. The grilled vegetable version was surprisingly my favorite. This proud carnivore couldn’t get enough of how well the flavors complemented each other. The chicken pesto was also delicious with grilled eggplant and roasted peppers.

The pizza is unique in appearance and flavor. It’s oval shaped, rolled through an authentic Italian pasta maker, served on a custom made pizza board. We tried the Mauri, owner Maurizio’s signature pie of fresh cheese and basil, pizza sauce and extra virgin olive oil. It was the best pizza I’ve had in a long time.

She said:
The menu has many Italian dishes that range from classic to fusion and there are so many wonderful choices to choose from.

The spinello sandwich of grilled vegetables with olive tapinade won me over. Jokingly, I asked if I could have one delivered to me weekly. It’s the perfect solution to a carb craving with a pizza dough-like crust, yet it’s filled with the likes of grilled peppers, eggplant, and zucchini to balance things and keep them on the lighter side. It is worth noting that this sandwich is a juicy one that is bursting with flavors from the tapinade and high quality olive oil. It is served with a side salad of field greens and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette that puts all Korean dressings to shame.

The pizza was cooked by wood oven and the crust was in between thick and thin. I really appreciated the fresh basil on the pizza. For vegans and lactose avoiders, you can also get all of their dishes made without dairy.

He said:
Maurizio is the man, his staff was attentive, and the food was presented nicely. Not much more a guy could ask for.

She said:
We were very fortunate to have the proprietor and master chef, Maurizio Ventrone, cater to our every whim. He made sure all of the dishes were perfect and to our liking. I really appreciated this personal touch as this kind of service that encourages repeat customers. I would say we felt like old friends by the time our meal was complete and we’ve already made plans to come back and have their new brunch specials

He said:
It’s upscale but comfortable, without being excessive. The food was excellent. The people we met both on behalf of the restaurant as well as those dining there were welcoming, providing stimulating conversation. If that isn’t enough, the upcoming brunch menu should entice you in for a visit.

She said:
This is a lovely place that is posh, welcoming, and modern. I felt like it was the perfect place to dine and a hotspot for meeting new people. The staff are all very friendly, knowledgeable, and more than willing to guide you through your dining experience. And if you’re lucky, the owner just might sit down with you.

Whisper Chase is NEH’s Managing Editor as well as a full time kindergarten teacher. Dustin Wilshire, NEH’s Contributing Editor is also a teacher as well as the writer of Rip City to Seoul (www.ripcitytoseoul.com)

~ by ripcitytoseoul on May 30, 2011.

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