Gilbert Burger has been serving up top quality burgers in Garosu-gil for a few years now. Or at least, so they tell me: I’d never been. (EDIT: The members of Burger Lovers Seoul – a Facebook group that any lovers of burgers in Seoul should definitely join – inform me that Garuso-gil is the second branch, and the original branch is actually in Seocho-gu. I haven’t been to that one either.)
I make the occasional pilgrimage to Sinsa for my favourite spicy galbijjim at the mighty Dongin Dong, but Garosu-gil isn’t my style – the girls too skinny, the prices too high, the places too fancy. Yes, I know that’s a stereotype, but this is my blog, not yours.
So the opening of a new branch of Gilbert Burger within walking distance of my house is big news, and when I found that it was open Monday, which is one of my days off, it wasn’t a tough choice. Having been two consecutive Mondays for lunch, here are my impressions.
Perched on the hill just behind Manimal (directions are at the bottom of this post), it’s a nice, light, no-nonsense space with seating for about 30 people and a decent view.
On my first visit, I had the eponymous Gilbert Burger, which is basically a bacon-egg-cheeseburger. I love a fried egg on a burger, so it was an easy choice. The set menu option offers a side of fries and a soda, so that was what I picked up.
It was really good. The bacon was crispy, the bun perfectly cooked. The patty is beefy, no fillers, no nonsense, and cooked medium, exactly as advertised. It began to break up towards the later stages of my munching, which was probably due to the egg, which made the whole thing a bit slippery. Whatever, this was a very solid burger indeed. It disappeared in less time than it’s taken to write this paragraph.
The second Monday, I decided to order the Mr President burger, which I’d heard good things about. It’s essentially the straight-up cheeseburger, with a slice of raw onion, pickle, tomato and lettuce.
It was terrific. Goddamn, it was good. I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, because, you know, it’s the standard basic burger. But it was off the charts good. Bacon perfectly crispy, the onion sliced just thin enough to be able to eat it properly (are you listening, Jacoby’s?), the pickle just perfect – and I’m not a fan of pickles.
Gilbert Burger is a good burger place and you should go there. It may or may not be as good as Brooklyn Burger – that would be a big call, and I’m not yet ready to make it – but there was just nothing I could have improved in the two burgers I’ve had at Gilbert, especially the Mr President, and it’s much more convenient for Itaewon folk than Brooklyn. Even better, unlike Brooklyn Burger, there isn’t a line of people out the door to stand between you and burgery goodness – at least, not yet (eventually the Instagram crowd will find it). Get there before they do and let me know if you liked it as much as I did.
- Category: American
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: Mr. President Burger
- Subway: Noksapyeong station (녹사평역) exit 2.
- Directions: To get there, walk up from the Itaewon main street as if you were going to Manimal or Coreanos, but before you get that far, turn right at the GS25, as in the photo below. From Noksapyeong, come out of exit 2, walk over the bridge and turn right, and pass Manimal and Coreanos until you get to the same GS25, whereupon you’ll want to turn left. Gilbert Burger is in the back of the yellow building that houses Butcher’s Daughter – you can just see a green sign in the window above Butcher’s Daughter. It’s open seven days for lunch and dinner.
- Hours: Open 7 days, 11:30 – 9:30pm.