Congdu is a self-proclaimed “modern hansik” fine dining restaurant. The name “Congu” represents the restaurant’s aspiration to serve creative dishes that incorporate as their main ingredients “cong” (beans) and jang (fermented paste)—two foods that highlight the science of fermentation in Korean cuisine. Signature dishes include the grilled beef sirloin steak with 15-year seed soy sauce and black garlic purée made with Uiseong garlic, and crab marinated in a master soy sauce using a special technique said to have been passed down from an aristocratic Joseon-era family. Housed in the former office of a Joseon era queen, diners can fully enjoy the traditionally Korean atmosphere as they eat. The view of the Deoksugung (Deoksu Palace) garden doesn’t hurt, either. The menu changes seasonally—for example, a recent Congdu spring menu featured such seasonal items as a spring green salad of mulberry preserves topped with shrimp-and-shepherd’s purse meatballs, a salad of abalone, leeks and seared fish, and a cold ginseng, chicken and garlic soup.