Sunday, December 13, 2015

Homemade Brunch Cafe

I'm not sure what the 37.5 in its name means, but that's only part of the reason I was intrigued by this new restaurant that opened in my neighborhood. Well, not merely my neighborhood, but my building, around the corner from the 7-eleven.

Who even knows what 'brunch' means in this country? Well, they do have it: 늦은 아침밥, meaning a late morning meal. But this cafe takes the more American meaning, serving light fare: soup, salad, omelettes, French toast. I was also intrigued by who would dine in a place so clearly non-Korean. Mok-dong, for all its virtues, is a very traditional area--most of your dining out choices in my neighborhood are sit-on-the-floor traditional or chicken hofs. Although that is changing. McDonald's won the Lotteria-Mickey D's battle here, even if I suspect that is because they have a rare drive-thru; one of the kimbab shops was replaced by a churros stand; and the Paris Baguette was kicked out by the swanky Bakery Napoleon.

I enjoy Korean food as much as the next guy. Actually, probably considerably more than the next guy, if the next guy isn't Korean. And not just so-called Korean barbecue, either: soups, stews, pajeon, kimchi, anything except octopus and stewed fish. However, the Korean flavor spectrum is rather like Mexican food: a limited number of ingredients, combined in lots of different ways. A man wants cheese and bread sometimes, too.

Therefore, I have eaten my "brunch" at 37.5 on successive Sundays, when 75% of the tables were filled. I first had the ham-cheese panini set, which included soup and salad for 10,000 W. It was quite good, although it had, dare I say it, one more slice of melty cheese that was strictly necessary. And that's real-and-true balsamic dressing for the salad.

Today, I went back and tried the ham-cheese French toast: the ingredients were in total balance, and the salad had more fruit and a nice dollop of cream cheese. Yes, that's a raspberry jus. Delicious. 12,000 W, a bit pricey.

Being a cafe, it offers a variety of coffees, a number of "ades" and fruit drinks, and an unexceptional list of beers, but I opted for something called a Godiva Oreo chocolate frappe. Wow! Perhaps the richest milkshake I've ever had. Pricey at 6,500 W but yum!

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