Monday, August 9, 2010

Mad For Garlic

I've been seduced by a chain restaurant.

Mad For Garlic has ten locations in Seoul and a mess of a menu that includes confusing items like chicken Teriyaki pasta. All of my years as a foodie--seeking out hole-in-the-wall Mexican goat soup joints and back alley pho, idolizing Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain--have taught me to avoid such places, generally with good reason. The only problem is, every dish we ordered at Mad For Garlic was packed with a wallop of flavor that made our taste buds sing.

 The reason Dan and I gave it a chance in the first place is that we're both garlic fiends. In my opinion, there's nothing quite so romantic as a couple committing to 12 solid hours of mutual, unabashed stinkyness for love of the pungent herb. With that in mind, we started with the Dracula Killer--crisp, buttery bread, whole cloves of roasted garlic to spread on top, and warm, herb-filled olive oil to dip it in. When the waiter asked whether we wanted our butter and oil covered in freshly grated parmesan cheese, of course we couldn't say "no." Stellar. Even better were the mussels, which came drenched in a peppery tomato wine sauce that was so addictive we were still shoveling it down by the mouthful after our entrees were set before us (and wishing we'd saved some bread to dip into it).

The Dracula Killer
Mussels in wine sauce

I ordered the triple garlic pasta, which rated two chili peppers on the menu. Both the waiter who took my order and the gentleman who set it down warned me about the spicyness of the dish, and one bite proved they weren't being dramatic. My lips tingled, my stomach burned, and I absolutely loved it.  Purists will scoff, but I'm pretty sure the seafood and green onions used in the dish had been sauteed in some sort of spicy teriyaki concoction--it sounds like misguided fusion food, but somehow, it worked. Dan was equally happy with his entree, which, despite being called "garlicpeno" pasta, was not as spicy as mine.

Triple Garlic Pasta
Garlicpeno Pasta

 We finished with a silky, indulgent cheesecake that soothed our fiery tongues. Still high from the meal on the way out, a friend called and I raved about our experience. "Mad For Garlic?" she responded. "I thought that was like the Olive Garden of Seoul." So had I.

1 comment:

  1. there's one in bundang very close to my aunt's house. I always imagined it was like the "coco's" of pasta in Korea. Boy am I sorry I didn't try it now!!