아키노유키 (논현점) (Aki-no Yuki)
Reviewed by Annie Namba on May 10, 2011 / Updated August 5, 2011
Seoul is the place to be for great Japanese izakayas! We've tried several, but allow us to present our favorite.
Aki-no Yuki means "Snow in Fall" in Japanese. This is a true hole-in-the-wall establishment, with just 5 tables inside and 3 outside, and has the feeling of an intimate place that you'd visit with just your closest friends. It has a cozy yet relaxed atmosphere.
Some of the many items available (there are menus at the table as well). If you look closely, you'll see that most are not difficult (like '토마토 베이컨,' pictured below), but prices do use hanja/kanji (一,二,三, etc.)
I love izakaya food: fire-grilled vegetable and meat skewers, deep-flavored oden soup on cold days, and most of all, the delicately assembled layered egg dish.
On this trip, we ordered two bacon-wrapped tomato skewers (2500원 each), oden soup (13000원), and egg rolls (9000원). Of course, this is also best-poured, freshest Asahi draft (8000원) in town (that we know of, anyway) so we had to get that as well.
Bacon-wrapped tomatoes, bursting (literally) with tomatoey goodness
First to come out were the skewers. Cherry tomatoes are wrapped in bacon, set on skewers, then grilled over a fire. I like how the tomatoes literally explode with flavor (although this feature is not appreciated as much by Aaron).
Asparagus and mozzarella cheese, both wrapped in crispy, smoky bacon
This was only our third visit, but the owner recognized us and gave us two free items with our order. (Actually, he recognized us on our second visit as well!) One was asparagus wrapped in bacon, and the other was mozzarella wrapped in bacon. They were a little salty, as you'd expect, but overall, all of the flavors came together quite well. Besides, how can you not like anything wrapped in bacon?
Delicious peppery soup with different kinds of oden (fishcake)
Next, a pot of oden soup. The soup itself is quite memorable, with the deep flavor of radish boiled for many hours, plus fish cake and an abundance of black pepper. Highly recommended. (Be aware that it is on the spicy side due to the black pepper.)
Wonderfully textured egg roll, topped with a mayo sauce and salty, crunchy flying fish roe
Last to come out (as always) was the egg roll. This is a must-try at Akino Yuki. This dish takes a long time to prepare (30-60 minutes, depending on how busy they are) but in my opinion, it is worth the wait. The egg is painstakingly formed into paper-thin layers and rolled together into a soft, multi-textured treat. The finished roll is sliced and decorated with flying fish roe (aka tobiko, 날치알) and a mayonnaise sauce.
- Food: 5/5 - Consistently amazing food and excellent Asahi draft.
- Service: 4/5 - Just remember, this is not a place to drop in and scarf down a quick meal. There are at most two workers in the restaurant, so your food may take some time to come out. Think of it as time to relax and drink.
- Atmosphere: 4/5 - Casual and laid back place to meet close friends.
NOTE: As mentioned in the summary, this place can be a little hard to find. Starting from the main road (Gangnamdaero) go past the bend in the road, then start looking for Aki-no Yuki on the right. (Use the main picture above as a guide, as there is no English sign and even the Korean version of the name on the sign is very, very small.) It is across the street from a garage that services foreign cars. If you reach the school, you've gone too far.