When flocking to Seattle's stadium zone for a pre- or post-game meal, you may have come to expect sports-appropriate fare like burgers and brats, dogs or brews. But new additions to the Pioneer Square culinary scene are changing up the game.
We're talking about the new "it" spot Girin – a Korean-themed steakhouse concept from the owner of Momiji, Umi Sake House and Kushibar – that's located inside an upscale complex called Stadium District just north of CenturyLink Field.
Move over, pub grub; there are some new competitive players stepping up to the plate.
Girin's ambience mixes chic with tranquility — Photo courtesy of Rina Jordan Photography
The vibe here feels Zen meets cutting-edge; the overhead music is club lounge mellow-chic; the windows are expansive; and the decor is simple yet stunning.
Thanks to a power team of Co-owners Cody Burns and Steven Han, plus Chef Brandon Kirksey, Girin brings decadent Korean flavors to a sleek space that manages to be both trendy and inviting at once.
Here, diners savor authentic flavors with a modern twist, washed down by refreshing makgeolli drinks and creative cocktails.
Named after a divine creature in Korean culture that allegedly brings "good luck, prosperity and serenity," the space features a modern Korean garden with trees and bamboo, a small entryway pond and a structure reminiscent of a traditional Korean home.
When it comes to mealtime, traditional flavors take on a modern twist.
Begin with selections of "ssam plates" – offerings of leafy greens and vegetables used for wrapping proteins along with garlic, soy paste, chilies and banchan (small accompanying side dishes). Banchan complements include kimchi, dried anchovies with toasted almond and nettles with doenjang and pine nuts, plus grilled eggplant.
Show-stoppers on the menu include the sesame-crusted tofu, Ssamjang Marinated Skirt Steak and Charred Scallion and Ginger Sausage. Other dishes and snacks range from grilled baby back ribs to stuffed perilla leaves and kichi jiagge (tofu, potato, poached duck egg).
The list of oysters served on the half shell feature Kimchi Ice, Buchu Mignoette and Sesame and Horseradish; be sure not to miss the tasty pajeon – savory green onion pancakes with seafood or kimchi and squash.
With a focus on using local purveyors, the chef sources beef from Double R Ranch, the pork from Carlton Farms, chicken from Draper Valley, the fish from New Zealand and shellfish from local seafood favorite Taylor Shellfish.
Guests 21 and over will enjoy the special treat of makgeolli, the oldest liquor in the word, served in wide, gold cups. With properties that are “still living,” the drink proves rich in probiotics and, according to Girin bar staff, it's the "healthiest thing you can drink and get a buzz from." (We’ll cheers to that!)
The restaurant also offers refreshing beverages like Hite beer on draft or Spring Aquavit Giffard Punch, a cocktail with a delightfully subtle banana tinge.
Consider ending the meal with a sweet treat like the persimmon sorbet served with Asian pear and a sesame cracker.
Girin's hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight.
Note to all sports fans: Although this may not be your traditional baseball-viewing hangout, a couple TVs in the bar area suggest that perhaps this might just be your newest pre-, mid- or post-game pit stop. Game on!