Edit Feb 2016: Well unfortunately this little place shutdown or moved. Instead there is a Churro shop there. I have looked around for its new location to no avail. I will continue to look, if anyone sees it please comment below.
I would like to thank my Hyehwa corespondent Adam for introducing us to this little hole in the wall a couple of months ago. I was originally going to write a review the following day, but the pomegranate and soju is a succubus who will absorb any common sense that might remain in your cavernous mind. There are also skewers of meat, prepared Japanese style over wood, to try to offset the damage from the soju (bah.. so bad). Anyway, after my fourth trip to SSEN KKOCHI 센꼬치 on a weekday to encourage sobriety, I finally was coherent enough to wake up the next day and remember what had happened. So without further ado, I present SSEN KKOCHI (센꼬치).
How to get there: Hyehwa is filled with small, locally owned restaurants and bars that cater to the enormous student following in the area. This can be a great thing when you find a gem, but it can often be difficult to describe the location. This is no exception, except for two major landmarks that will help you find it. First, take the subway to Hyehwa station (Line 4) and depart from Exit 4. From there you are going to make a left and walk towards an alleyway. The alley will have a Starbucks (that’s major landmark 1). Once you find the Starbucks, walk across the street/alley and continue to the other side of Hyehwa rotary. You will most likely go down a side alley to get to the other side. Hyehwa is splits into two. You want to be on the right side of the rotary coming from the North heading towards Anguk Station. Once you are on the other side, make a left and walk towards the McDonalds. 센꼬치 SSEN KKOCHI is right beside the McDonalds and Daiso.
Service and Atmosphere: The service at SSEN KKOCHI has always been top-notched. The soju and BBQ is always served promptly, and the chef is very friendly and interactive with his customers, especially if you frequent there on a regular basis. The atmosphere is cozy, some would say to a fault. This place can get really packed as the night goes on, and if you are forced to sit on the “stools” near the grill, which are actually padded kitchen pipes, your behind will be in a world of pain after. That said, if you can snag a seat, it is a delightful and comfortable experience, as long as you don’t mind rubbing backs or butts with the person behind you.
Food and Drink: The Japanese-style BBQ and the soju is the thing to get. There are other items on the menu, including potato scallops, but I would shy away and dine on their speciality. Tp achieve maximum soju effectiveness, order a bottle of soju, and also a bottle of the pomegranate. I’m unsure if they put soju in the pre made pomegranate juice, but I like to order an extra bottle just to give it some balls. They mix devilishly well together. Remember when you were a kid, and when you came in from the hot summer afternoon and you couldn’t get enough of Kool-Aid? This is the alcohol version of that feeling. My tongue easily tells me I can handle ten of these concoctions, but my stomach and liver always tends to disagree. Anyway, the soju and pomegranate and BBQ is amazing. Bacon wrapped asparagus, some chicken hearts (surprisingly amazing) and liver seems intimidating, but is quite delicious. Honestly, you will so consumed by the pomegranate and soju, you could eat a fucking horse’s heart ala Daenary’s Targaryen and you probably wouldn’t notice.
Value: The whole night came to around 50,000KRW. We ordered multiple plates of BBQ, and each stick of meat will set you back about 3000KRW or 4000KRW. This doesn’t seem like much, but after awhile, the bill begins to catch up on you. There is a lot of value here, but if you are looking to get stuffed, this might not be your place. However, if you are looking to drink the night away whilst having great conversion, than the value is definitely there.
Who Should Visit SSEN KKOCHI: People looking for a nice place, with an intimate atmosphere to chat and drink until the wee hours of the Seoul night.
Who Should Avoid SSEN KKOCHI: This would not exactly be a place for the claustrophobic. Space is limited.