Kitchen’s star is an independent Italian restaurant in the Sinchon(신촌) neighborhood. After a pleasant Lunar New Year break, I decided to treat myself to Italian with a friend. Lured by the 10,000 won steak, we figured this place was worth a shot. With steak being more of a delicacy in these parts, I was really looking forward to it.
You can find this place by going out of exit 3 of Sinchon station(신촌역) and following the diagonal pedestrian-only street where it will be on the right on the 2nd floor. Type “키친별” on Naver maps for GPS.
The restaurant was pretty welcoming with nice window spaces and a homely ambiance. Lots of brick facades and an open kitchen that you really couldn’t see anyways because it was so far from most of the seats.
Their menus are uniquely made out of old children’s books, but they were really tattered and worn out. While the idea was novel(no pun intended), it didn’t feel all that charming because of their dire condition. I somewhat didn’t want to touch the menu because it looked so raggedy.
Although we had planned to order ala carte, we eventually decided to order the set menu for 2 which came with the steak, any choice of one pasta and one pizza, 2 drinks, and a cajun chicken salad for 30,000 won.
Chicken Cream Pasta – 6,900 won
The first item to come was the cream pasta. The presentation was neat, and the overall taste was fairly decent. There were nice plentiful chunks of grilled chicken, but the dish lacked seasoning. I tend to eat things on the bland side, but this was borderline for me.
The pasta itself was a bit doughy. It may have been overcooked or was freshly made and then overcooked. While unique, it didn’t suit me. I would go for a tomato-based pizza as it would probably have more flavor.
Salami Pizza – 10, 900 won
Not really a pizza in the traditional sense, Kitchen’s Star uses a very thin layer of chewy rice cake instead of a traditional dough as a base. They call it spoon pizza because you literally eat it with a spoon instead of your hands. If you can imagine a skillet of thick cheese with toppings on it, that’s pretty much what this is.
The salami pizza came with salami, bacon, olives, and Korean sweet potato topped with parmesan. While unique, it didn’t have the same balance as a traditional pizza to me. The rice cake was not thick enough to counter the overwhelming greasiness of the meats and cheese. The rice cake even had a soggy texture at times. The cheese itself was very thick, but somewhat underwhelming in flavor. While edible, it wasn’t something that I could recommend.
Cajun Chicken Salad – 5,900 won
Strangely, the salad was not the first dish served to us. It featured a tangy sauce that had a nice, subtle tartness. I was really disappointed in the chicken as it was somewhat cold and soggy despite being fried. Usually when you eat something fried, you expect it to be warm and crispy, so i was a bit surprised at this one. It was still edible and the sauce worked well. It would’ve just been so much better if the chicken was prepared fresh.
Steak – 9,900 won
Definitely my favorite part of the meal. The steak broke many rules of mine, but it was still edible and it was still steak. The steak comes to you sizzling hot on a griddle in conspicuous fashion. The steak was well-done, which usually is a huge turn-off, but the meat managed to still be tender with a pleasant chewiness to it. The surface of the steak has nice browning and a great texture.
As with all the dishes I had here, they were lacking in seasoning and general flavor. Because I tend to like my steak bland, it didn’t bother me and the sauce had a nice gravy that worked well with the steak.
While I wouldn’t rave about this restaurant, it’s somewhat worth going to for the steak. While I had no qualms with the presentation of the dishes, I felt like everything was lacking in their own respect, especially in regards to flavor. What they could’ve done to improve the experience was to offer black pepper to allow customers to season their own dishes according to taste. For 30,000 won, there are many other options to try. However, if you’re in the mood for a cheap steak meal, I don’t think anyone would complain about this place.