Originally reviewed on June 10, 2020
|한글 🇰🇷||ENGLISH 🇺🇸|
|램쿡 신사역 본점||Lamb Cook Sinsa Station Main Office|
|Korean Won 🇰🇷||United States Dollar 🇺🇸|
Price is a rough average per head, excluding drinks. This place has high quality wine from 🇫🇷 which goes for up to $200/bottle, so if you drink, that may make the cost fluctuate quite a bit.
Seoul Seek Recommendations
- 👑 Signature
- ✅ Counting Calories
- 🌶️ Spicy
|한글 🇰🇷||English 🇺🇸||Price 💵|
|VIP 양갈비||VIP Baby Lamb Rib (200g) 👑||₩28,000|
|양꼬치 (갈비살)||Lamb Rib Skewers (10)||₩14,000|
|양 꽃등심||Lamb Sirloin (200g) ✅||₩22,000|
|얼큰 칼국수||Spicy Kimchi Knife-Cut Noodles (Soup) 🌶️||₩5,000|
The VIP lamb comes at a high price for small quantities, given its nature. A must-try if you're in the know about lamb, though.
I love lamb, and it’s hard to find a good spot that differentiates itself from the usual (frozen) lamb skewers for flat rate place you’d see a lot in tourist-heavy locations. It’s even harder to find somewhere that has proper air conditioning during summer months. This place checks both boxes.
Lamb Cook is nestled in a side street, but easy to find given its large branding out front. A really solid place for lamb lovers and newbies alike.
If you are alone, you must specify that you are ordering for 1 person; they assume that each order will be for 2, and will charge you for 200g.
Although this establishment is located near Sinsa station, it is not on a famous road or go-to tourist street. Sinsa station itself is a hotbed for tourists, but this is a bit out of the normal rush hour routes. The street which it is on is a watering hole for many workers who work at surrounding corporations.
There are many bars, singing rooms, and salaryman type spots here. That means a lot of alcohol and good quality meats can be found packed side by side. With that, comes a high price (or at least, higher than usual).
The owner here has direct ties to a lamb processing facility, and gets all meat direct. This is a chain, but ties to processors varies between each and every franchise owner. Here, it is processed same-day fresh, and never frozen, which is something becoming more rare within the meat industry here in general.
The layout of this restaurant is surprisingly efficient. Wait staff can easily navigate every which way without bumping into chairs or one another.
The vents used minimize distraction and are on-table internal vents, opposed to hose-like ceiling vents. These are usually more expensive to build and integrate, which is why we do not see them often.
However, they are indeed weaker than ceiling vents, thus the ventilation is not as good. They look nicer, though!
The usual here, with a unique addition. You get the usual salt and pepper along with spices and dipping sauce for the lamb. Along with that, you get a plate with several side dishes included. Pretty normal, except for the black olives.
I have never in my life seen black olives served at a lamb place. Strangely, they go well together.
The refill box shown below is for the spices; not shown is the fresh pepper grinder and salt grinder they offer if requested, but we didn’t need them.
We start off by being presented with VIP baby lamb ribs. They are the most premium food item Lamb Cook offers (their signature as well). The owner tells us that these come in limited supply daily, and are a favorite amongst businessmen for dinner parties for their show-off factor.
After that, we move into the skewers, and finish with soup.
I’ll admit, the baby lamb ribs were incredibly small; no more than half a dozen (if that) good-sized pieces come from each. That being said, it is the only time I’ve ever had lamb literally melt in my mouth. It was in another tier.
Be careful when you cook on temperatures this high; things burn easily. Even with the owner’s assistance, we had a few pieces that were charred too much, resulting in having to snip off bits with a scissor.
Cooking the Food
This may seem scary at first glance. One second, you’re grilling lamb casually talking with company, the next a huge fire erupts in front of you. This is completely normal; the one thing you do not want to do is freak out and go wild about trying to put it out. You are safe.
Simply wave down a wait staff and point if you are unable to communicate; they will know how to handle it. If by some chance wait staff are not directly in your vicinity, simply remove the meat (calmly) and the fire will subside within seconds. You can also move the meat or turn it over, and it will disappear.
I went into this restaurant telling my wife that I wanted to see some flames, pointing over to a table flaring up as we waited to be seated. Half made in jest, I was also half serious, as pork and lamb places tend to have this happen often, and they make for great pictures.
Make sure to keep your camera nearby if you’re a photographer or want some cool action shots; nothing looks more cool than some flames and meat when it comes to Korean BBQ restaurants.
As you’ll see below, the owner returns and prepares the ribs’ bones for us with a tissue. You may have seen in television shows or YouTube videos that some restaurants use tinfoil or otherwise to wrap the ends of the bones to retain heat. This is mostly for show, and is more inconvenient. The reason being is, the metal tends to slip up and down the bone while gnawing unless it is perfectly wrapped, which it never is.
The simple tissue paper, napkin, whatever you want to label it as, is much more practical and never slips. If placed properly, the bone’s bottom part will be warm while the rest will be piping hot, making the perfect combo. It’s all about placement on the grill.
The skewer rotator I mention is the same in any lamb place, regardless of tier. It is a metal contraption which rolls back and forth on a rail, rotating the skewers over the charcoal. There are star-like spikes on the bottom-end of each skewer which fall perfectly into corresponding holes, with the far end resting on a small ledge on the opposite side.
As it rotates to and fro, the meat is evenly cooked. This offers some cool interaction with your food, and is usually a favorite of tourists that are unfamiliar with this practice. Another reason why lamb is a great onboarding restaurant for anyone visiting to check out.
As customary in Korea, you end a meal with soup or something to cleanse the palate. When eating lamb, it is usual that you eat a kimchi soup or some in-house signature.
Overall, this was a very pleasant experience and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to explore their desires to eat lamb, as they offer various cuts and it is fresh. You need not worry about lamb quality, as it is sourced direct and never frozen.
It can get loud at times given its nature, but it is not a dealbreaker; it adds atmosphere. If you want somewhere serene and quiet, you’ll be paying double the price and the quality won’t be any better.
Your tab may blow up depending on if you like fine wine or not; we kept it simple with a cider (they have Sprite here, not Chilsung).
The meat is cleaned well, and has no strange aftertaste. The wait staff are very kind, and the owner is down to earth and genuinely enjoys serving her customers.
Make sure you know how to use chopsticks; they don’t offer forks here, and the chopsticks are very thin and metal, the most difficult to operate per se.
If you’re feeling up for it and have the stomach space remaining, there’s a large Chef Baek cafe not even 10 feet from the subway entrance for an after-dinner snack. The flagship. That’s where we headed afterwards; expect a quick review on that soon.