Urban Seoul is a new restaurant opened in late 2015 in Irvine, located next to Pieology at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Celebrating passion for food with the amazing ability of flavors to adapt to any palette, Urban Seoul boasts a menu that revolves around California and traditional bibimbap. This restaurant focuses on offering appetizers like tapas as well as small plates, encouraging patrons to share the large variety of tastes available there.
Created by local Restaurateur Bronnie Lee and Chef Kacy Jun, Urban Seoul offer a “borderless kitchen” in order to showcase the cooking techniques. The fusion of traditional Korean food and novel techniques creates what can only be described as the new Korean. For those unfamiliar, bibimbap is a signature Korean dish which is traditionally warm white rice, soy sauce, chili pepper paste, fermented soybean paste, and an egg and sliced meat.
Urban Seoul is much smaller than one would expect from this larger-than-life food, offering a petite patio and a cozy interior. A small bar sits to the left side of the room, while the dining area feels very modern. The inside of the restaurant makes one feel like they could be sitting anywhere- a bar in Korea to a small eatery in Orange County.
The vibe of Urban Seoul is very relaxed, almost like that of a typical coffee shop or café. Top 40 music floats through the air and creates a laid back and happy atmosphere. A variety of people stream through the doors, from families to very hip-looking teenagers. Couples sit snuggled in the corner booths, tasting each other’s food and delighting in the decadent aromas. Lone businessmen sit at the bar, chatting with the bartender about that day’s excursions over a Kalbi Skillet & Pina Colada, the Chef’s Specials of the day.
Urban Seoul offers “UrBun Thursdays” which includes the following menu items:
- $3.50 Pork Belly, Chicken Katsu, Rib-Eye Jun, or Tofu
- $5.00 All flavored Sake (one glass) or 30% of all Sake bottles
Taco Tuesday is also offered, with $2 tacos, $4 Coronas, and $5 Soju Margaritas all day on Tuesdays. Soju margaritas are distilled beverages native to Korea typically made from rice, wheat, and barley.
Appetizers/small plate options on the menu include the Japchae Mari, Gogi Gravy Fries, Fried Calamari, Gogi Quesadilla, Elote Skillet, and more. Those whose tastes tend to be more traditional American can get sweet potato fries, criss-cut fries, or a side of rice or salad.
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Urban Seoul’s menu highlights their specialty items, such as the Urban 3B- their take on the bibimbap. Offering a variety of meats from pork belly to gogi, this plate includes poached egg, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and more to keep the crunch inside. Also offered are the more mainstream Pork Bun and Chicken Stir-Fried Udon.
Entrée salads, sliders, sandwiches, and tacos round out the menu. Try the Chicken Katsu sandwich for a wonderful mix of cultural food. For a beverage, choose from a variety of wines, beer, Soju, Sake, or non-alcoholic drinks. Urban Seoul’s Happy Hour is Monday-Thursday from 5-6:30 PM and includes beers and wines on tap as well as small plates like chicken mandu and garlic edamame.
Food tasters recommend the Japchae Mari, which is essentially stir-fried noodles wrapped in seaweed then battered and fried. The whole thing is topped with sweet and spicy sauce to add a little zest to the dish. The Chorizo Kimchi Fried Rice Skillet is sure to delight anyone, with the delicious tastes of Chorizo, bacon, garlic, onions, and an egg thrown in the middle. This dish was the perfect amount of spicy- not enough to send you searching for milk, but just enough to add some tang.
Kids’ meals like cheeseburger sliders and gogi and rice are offered for the little ones. Finish off your meal with some mango shaved snow, churros, or vanilla ice cream.
Urban Seoul is a great spot to expand your palette, whether you are a ham-and-eggs kind of person or a foodie looking for their latest addiction. Visit them at the Irvine Spectrum Center today or find out more about Urban Seoul and see the whole menu at urban-seoul.com.