"We really filled our brains with info on spices, sauces and tastes," says Choi.
"Our method of creating our menu was to find and replicate the most authentic tastes, and then from there, localize it as needed or change it according to the chef's preferences. We make it exactly the same first, and then vary from there."
Using a commercial smoker shipped in from the United States, Beale St.'s spare ribs are smoked for five hours (?42,000/$38 for full or ?22,000/$20 for half).
Short ribs are smoked for six hours (?45,000/$41 for full or ?24,000/$22 for half).
They're two of the highlights on the menu. A tomato-based sauce complements both dishes, in the style of Kansas City barbecue.
According to Choi, the commercial smoker brings an entirely different flavor to the meat.
Beale St. also boasts a broad selection of local draft and craft beers from Korea and the United States.
Beale St., 3/F 363-28 Seogyo-dong Mapo-gu; +82 2 322 0755; noon-11 p.m.
Congdu used to be housed in the Seoul National History Museum, but relocated and reopened in a literal national treasure -- a traditional Korean building used by the last Chosun king's grandmother. It's located between what are now the British and U.S. embassies.
As imposing and beautiful as the location is, Congdu doesn't rely solely on its beautiful setting to impress visitors -- it features some of the best Korean food in Seoul.
The menu features neo-Korean cuisine that requires intense labor. The 48-hour, slow-cooked Jeju pork shoulder with aged kimchi (?38,000/$34) is a reflection of one of Jeju Island's most famous dishes.
Owner Vivian Han travels around Korea to find top suppliers, ingredients and masters, and describes the food as being traditional and simple, but prepared with new methods of cooking.
Han's new Gangnam venture, Maam focuses on seafood.
Though some dishes come from Congdu, others have been tailored for Maam, at a lower price point.
Congdu, 116-1 Deoksu Palace-gil Junggu; +82 2 722 7002; lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., cafe, 2-5:30 p.m., dinner, 5:30-10 p.m.; courses from ?35,000-?62,000 ($32-56) for lunch; ?55,000-?110,000 ($50-99) for dinner
Maam, B/2 SB Tower, Dosandaero Gangnam-gu; +82 2 515 0112; Monday-Friday, lunch 11:30 a.m.-1:50 p.m.; dinner 5:30-9 p.m.; weekends, lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner 5:30-10 p.m.
Connected to the only black and white photography printing press in Seoul, Dabang is a throwback to old Korea.
Dabang (a name that refers to old Korean coffee shops) is sparsely decorated with vintage furniture from Korea and the United States.
The owner's inspiration came from poet Yi Sang and the kind of dabang that the poet might work in.
"I kept thinking about what kind of writing, what kind of emotions, what kind of work came from Yi Sang in that place," says owner Kim Hyun Sik about the coffee shop's aesthetic.
The food is also simple, and Kim hopes to pare back the menu even more.
Dishes include typical Korean fare such as kimchi fried rice (?7,000/$6), as well as items such as yookjeon (beef pancakes), which are reserved for special occasions such as the anniversaries of deaths.
Coffee is hand roasted on site.