Although my girlfriend and I are not fond of the late-night ruckus that surrounds our home in Hongdae (specifically Sangsu Station), it’s only bearable because we get first dibs at some of the best new (and old) eateries in the area. On this day, we looked no further than our front door to find a great donkkaseu/tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) restaurant serving some seriously good cutlets. Heavily breaded and void of greasiness, they were thick and steak-like, which is just the way I like them. Even better was the sauce that was smothered over the breaded cutlet, not as tangy as most in-house sauces but richer, creamier, nuttier tones that were pleasing to the palate. Sadly, the only downfall of this place is that it’s one of those places with a queued line well before their serving hours. However, on this particular visit, we got our names on the waiting list early (convenient clipboard right outside the restaurant) and waited no more than 15 minutes. Not bad considering others who had to stand in line as opposed to sitting in when you’re close to the front.
When it comes to normal donkkaseu fare in Seoul, I am sure most are familiar with the basic setup: thin, flat pieces of donkkaseu, a combination of corn and/or shredded cabbage, an ice cream scoop of rice, and of course the gravy-like sauce. Although the basic is not that entirely bad when you have limited options, you deserve better than the standard especially if you’re a fan of this dish. So, that’s where Samonim Donkkaseu comes into play, a quaint joint serving up some unique, comforting, mouth-watering donkkaseu made the right way.They keep it simple with three menu items: regular, spicy, and spicy seafood, all of which are superb in their own way. Replacing the corn and shredded cabbage you usually receive at other joints, here you get a refreshing (and real) salad, followed by cream soup, and then the main dish–basically a cheap version of a 3 course meal. If you don’t mind waiting in line for your meal, you won’t be disappointed at this hidden gem in Hongdae.
Keeping it quick and simple, here is a list of pros and cons of Samonim Donkkaseu:
- only three items on their menu (regular, spicy, and spicy seafood donkkaseu) which means one thing: specialized pork cutlets with a lot of bold flavors.
- reasonable prices (under 10,000 won each) and that includes cream soup and a pleasantly refreshing salad.
- use of organic greens in their salad and other quality ingredients.
- seriously crispy and heavily breaded handmade donkkaseu made to order with impeccable service in an intimate atmosphere.
- waiting list with sometimes an endless line of customers.
- small dining area with 12-person max seating.
- spicy version is sweat-inducing and can cause bouts of euphoria–nevertheless, you’ll keep eating because it’s that addicting (not sure if this a con or not?).
Samonim Donkkaseu (사모님돈가스)
Mapo-gu, Sangsu-dong 92-2 (마포구 상수동 92-2)