I had my reservations about Biergarten because it initially reminded me of those grungy beer "hofs" in Korea's college towns where the Hites and OBs are watered down, food is a greasy mess and everything comes with an unappetizing green cabbage salad with a big old squirt of mayo or thousand island dressing. But I was pleasantly surprised.
I had read good reviews on Biergarten so decided to give it a try. That it allegedly had a good burger certainly nudged me further.
Let's talk burger. I had the regular burger with bacon, lettuce and tomato. The first one was overcooked so I took it back. The second one was a lot better -- cooked medium rare. The flavor of the patty was good. While I rarely met a bacon strip I didn't like, I thought the layers and layers of super thick bacon were a bit much. I liked that they weren't too fatty but 3-4 layers of bacon took away from my enjoying the patty. Then I have a major beef about the bun. The first bun was good but the second bun was cold, dense and at complete odds with the decent patty. It was almost an afterthought that someone remembered to take the buns out of a fridge. The bun needs work. Brioche buns are the way to go.
Biergarten is a vast improvement from those joints. I'm not crazy about the sports-bar-wannabe ambiance but I will head over there if Korea plays at the next World Cup (I'm not a big fan of women's soccer, sorry).
The beer selection was impressive and I was offered an IPA flight when I couldn't decide which IPA to get with my burger. In typical Korean fashion, when asked what were the differences among the various IPAs, the server pointed to one and said, "this one is the most popular everyone orders." Come ON. If you purport to be a true gastropub or microbrewery or whatever the moniker for good food and beer is, you need to train your staff so they know and are as passionate about beer as you. Otherwise, you lose credibility.
I probably will return to try some other dishes and beers but this place needs work in terms of having servers familiarize themselves with the menu and beer, and the ambiance is not as quaint as one would like, perhaps due to the larger size of the space than, say, Village Idiot.
Short Rib Poutine: Need I say more? This was insane the first time we had it -- perfect fries sprinkled with some blue cheese (or really stinky aged brie of some kind) and smothered with short rib gravy on top. OMG! I'm proud to say my dinner companion and I one time managed to finish this off. But the second time around, unfortunately, the short rib wasn't as good. It was smelly and I didn't have a lot of it (just the fries). Great concept. It reminded me of the barbecued pork poutine from Animal, another great institution.The Chosun One: I liked the stir-fried kimchi and spicy aoili, as well as the pickled daikon radish (I've actually used this radish pairing for my braised oxtail sliders for a Bowl outing once to pretty delicious effect if I may say so myself). I didn't love the spam (I know. Spam is big in Korea. But I couldn't get myself to have the burger with it). Otherwise, a pretty decent if not overcooked burger -- maybe at the level of the Village Idiot.