The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Itaewon
If you’re ready for Texas-style barbeque, head over to Manimal Smokehouse, a recently opened restaurant on the hill overlooking the entrance to Itaewon.
While a decent size, with table seating for 20 and another 15 at a long bar, by 1900 on a weekday there was a line out the door. Don’t worry, it’s worth the wait however long. The restaurant’s main feature is a genuine wood smoker, imported from Texas. The staff starts cooking before the sun comes up, so we all can enjoy true slow-cooked barbeque.
Manimal features Brisket, Pulled Pork, Pork Spare Ribs and dark meat Chicken.
I, like most people, went for the brisket. It was great, with or without dipping it into the excellent tangy sauce set on the side. There are about ten side dishes, all homemade. I sampled the rolls (good) and Cilantro-Lime Mashed Potatoes (Outstanding).
To wash everything down Manimal offers seven different beers on draft or in bottles and several specialty drinks. They have three different tequilas, including Patron Silver.
They do offer take-out, but since the place is still pretty new (as of early May) they don’t have all the details worked out. I’m sure if you’re there and want a “to go” order it will be no problem.
It’s a bit of a challenge to find the front door, so pay attention.
Manimal is located on the backside, on the top floor, of a two-story building. As you climb the hill at the entrance to Itaewon, look for Yona Yona Burgers. On the left of this building is an alleyway. At the end, turn right and go up the cement staircase.
The staff is bi-lingual and the menu is in English, with Korean translation.
The prices were similar to most restaurants in the Itaewon area. My meal partner, who hails from Houston, gave a thumbs-up when I asked if he felt the food was authentic. No better endorsement, partners!