If you’re looking for an amazing Japanese style sushi experience, I high recommend 별스시 (Byeol Sushi). Byeol means “star” and I was left with the impression that I was among the stars after eating here. I had the pleasure of going to this Japanese sushi restaurant after volunteering in Junggok area. It’s in a rather unpopular neighborhood, but it’s totally worth it. You can get there easily by going to Junggok Station (중곡역) and heading out of exit 1.
The restaurant is quite a humble little establishment with enough seating for about 50 tops, but the interior feels very modern and comfortable. I’ve never had sushi outdoors, but their outside seating looks very enjoyable on a nice spring day.
The sushi bar seats 5 where you can see the magic. The seats are even adjustable!
The fish is left outside in cheese cloths(?) with no refrigeration. I was a bit surprised as I’ve never seen it stored like this in the U.S., but given that I didn’t get sick it should be okay. In fact, I think this method added to the experience.
The appetizers left a good impression. Each person gets their own congee (죽) and miso soup. Both tasted amazing and I was somewhat surprised to be served the congee as I’ve never had that before. The congee felt very light with semi solid rice bits every now and then. The miso tasted very clean and not overly salty. I think both have a very well made stock base, but I can’t be sure. On top of that, the garnishes included pickled garlic!
연어 (Salmon Sushi Plate)
Usually, I find salmon sushi to be just okay. I’m not a big fan of salmon sushi because it usually lacks creativity and is poorly executed. The taste and flavor is usually pretty subtle and nothing too special when compared to tuna. However, after seeing this platter, I was pleasantly surprised at the arrangement and all preconceptions of salmon sushi went out the door. This was by far the best salmon sushi I’ve ever had.
The fish slices were so much longer than the rice that you could roll it up and dip it hassle free in soy sauce. It was absolutely perfect. The fish was so tender and the it seemed to just melt in the mouth. The temperature of the fish from leaving it out made it taste so much better than refrigerated sushi. Every slice was perfect. Even the traditional slices felt atypical. The mayo-based sushi was good as well, but the sauce may have been a bit overpowering.It definitely had an interesting blend of textures with crispy onions and the soft fish and rice.
I believe even the wasabi was real. It was more subtle than your typical cheap, fake wasabi. You can tell the chef went through a lot to make everything perfect.
Zaru Soba (소바/모밀) – 6000 won
These cold buckwheat noodles served with a refreshing broth are perfect for a warm day. The soba had a nice chewiness and was cooked perfectly. The soup may have been a little weak for my taste, but it had a very light flavor. It was still very delicious.
Everything was absolutely spot on here. Byeol sushi has that rare, subtle attention to detail that will leave a lasting impression. From the restaurant interior to the food execution, you will notice the differences immediately. Most of flavors are subtle, but pack a punch in their own way. It’s much like traditional Japanese cuisine that focuses on light, delicate flavors. I can’t praise this restaurant enough!