Gahm Mi Oak
photo by Bradley Hawks
Amid the legion of 24-hour K-Town destination spots, Gahm Mi Oak would seem a bit subdued. There are fewer neon lights here, and nary a hissing, smoking tabletop barbecue in sight. The menu is a bit smaller, the prices a little steeper. But there are many compelling reasons to find a seat here: One is yook hwe, a dish of raw slivered beef tossed with crunchy batons of Asian pear; it eats like a Korean tartare, complete with a raw egg. There’s also the modum bossam, a plate of simmered pork belly, raw oysters, and effervescent radish kimchi that you wrap up in pickled cabbage leaves; it’s a good dish for a crowd. But the dish that reigns supreme — and the one you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere — is sul long tang, a cloud-white broth imbued with the concentrated essence of long-boiled beef bones. Topped with ribbons of brisket, rice noodles, and a thicket of sliced scallions, the soup arrives unseasoned. There are pots of salt on the table, and your server will supervise as you adjust the soup accordingly. He may suggest a little more or give a startled shout if you’re about to turn the potage into something as salty as the sea. Bonus: This dish is a traditional hangover cure, if you’ve got bad decisions to undo.