The Tortoise and The Bear!

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If you have no soul, go to Seoul! February 7, 2012

First off, let me start this with saying, never ever go to Seoul. The owner is a complete jerk and the food is not worth the price.

How exciting. As of a few minutes ago, I can say that I have had the worst restaurant experience EVER. Here in the little town of Little Rock, Arkansas! Jeremy and I decided to go to Seoul, for the second time. Seoul is a Korean restaurant found at 5923 Kavanaugh Boulevard. The first time I had a similar awful food experience, however I just sucked it up and attempted to choke down the food I was served. But let’s not talk about that, lets talk about our most recent visit!

In the beginning, our visit to Seoul was pleasant. The atmosphere of the restaurant is pleasant and our waitress was very nice. I ordered a black tea and water, Jeremy got a diet coke (because that is all he drinks). For teabag tea, my hot black tea was actually really good. Jeremy said his diet coke was “average”.

Then we ordered! Jeremy got a beef bulgogi and I got a tofu bibimbap, egg rolls, avocado roll, asparagus roll and a house salad (we split much of this). (Jeremy: I went to the bathroom, because that’s what I do. It was a single-serve bathroom, but for some reason had two chairs next to the inconvenient toilet paper roll. I guess that was an invitation to use the chairs instead of the toilet, but unfortunately I was only in there to wash my hands. Speaking of which, there was NO HOT WATER in the bathroom, a major restaurant pet peeve of mine.)

First out was the salad, which was okay. The greens themselves were amazing looking, but the dressing is that kind of ginger dressing that I hate so much. You know, the kind that just seems like it is ginger pulp? I much prefer the ginger dressing found at Igibon, but I won’t hold that against Seoul. (Jeremy: creamy dressing FTW, of course)

Then, came the egg rolls! The egg rolls were amazing (I think, Jeremy had to add soy to his). The dipping sauce was spicy, acidic and had a really nice bite to it, these are all things I love. The egg rolls were satisfyingly crunchy and the insides were tasty and for me, very tasty. I ended up drinking some of the sauce and it was. so. good. Good job Seoul!

Then, our sushi came! The sushi was beautiful and overall very good. The avocado roll didn’t have crunchy avocado, which sometimes happens and it makes me want to vomit. This avocado was deliciously ripe and their was just enough cucumber to help make it not too mushy feeling in your mouth. The asparagus roll had a delicious crunchy outside, but the inside was just a little too mushy for me. It wasn’t bad, necessarily, but I did think it could have used about a minute less cooking time. Overall, great though!

But then… it all went terribly downhill. Our main dishes came out and instantly I could tell that I was about to experience the same mushy, bland, awful bibimbap that I had had last time. Please, please be wrong I said to myself. Please, maybe a swarm of bugs will fly over the food, die instantly and fall into the bowl, this giving SOME SORT OF TASTE to the entire trainwreck of a bowl of food.

But, that didn’t happen.

Let me explain to you what you are looking at. On the bottom, you have a layer of plain white rice. To the side, you have plain lettuce. You also have cooked, mushy plain zucchini, some sort of very, very lightly sauced noodles and then possibly sprouts as well. On top of all of this, is plain silken tofu. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. ON THE TOP OF ALL OF THIS MUSHY, BLAND DEAD PUPPY OF A DISASTER MESS, IS UNSEASONED, UNCOOKED SILKEN TOFU. WHAT. WHAT WHAT WHAT!

But yes, I did try it. I tried exactly one bite of tofu and wanted to die, Jeremy had a similar experience. I verified that the zucchini and rice were also unseasoned and flavorless. We also tried the side of sauce that came with this disaster, it was gritty and tasted like it was just chili powder mixed together with water to make a paste. Actually, Jeremy pointed out it tasted just like the red pepper powder you use to make kimchi. Maybe it was? It also came with a side of kimchi, which I did not eat due to the fish paste used to make it. (Jeremy: we actually had to press the waitress for this information. She assured us it was just cabbage. “No fish?” “No fish.” “No dried shrimp?” “No dried shrimp.” “No fish sauce?” “Oh, well yes it’s made with fish sauce.”)

(Jeremy: Mine was actually fine, but not amazing. On this plate is the salad, which was the same as Penelope’s; kimchi that wasn’t terribly spicy or tart; beef that was very tender, probably the best thing on the plate; two different fried meat-filled doughs that seemed dry but edible; edamame that were very crunchy but also tasty; and some nondescript fried rice, which had some sesame seeds on top that were a nice touch.)

So this time, I was not going to let them trick me into buying this disaster of a meal. I took 2 bites and stopped eating until the waitress came back. I told her I was not happy with this and it was too bland. She told me I should put the sauce on it. No, I will not do that. A) the sauce was AWFUL, B) you really think it is okay to serve flavorless food and make the customer flavor it themselves? What exactly is the chef doing then? Cooking rice, chopping up lettuce and opening a pack of tofu?

She recommended the beef bibimbap and I let her know I don’t do meat. She understood and took the dish away. I finished my salad (which I was sad I had to do) and Jeremy finished his beef bulgogi and I told him I was pretty sure my bibimbap would be on my ticket and it would be awkward.

Well, it was on my ticket. I put my card in with the ticket and Jeremy paid with cash. When the waitress came and took my card, I told her that she made a mistake and my bibimpap got put on my ticket. At this point my card was still with my ticket, because I thought she would fix it. But no, she told me the owner said that I needed to pay for it. When she said that, I was certain to take back my card before she could run it and let her know I wanted to talk to the manager or owner.

The owner came to our table and wanted to know what was wrong. I told him that the food was bland and I was not happy with it, so I sent it back. I told him I did not expect to pay for it. He said that I ordered it, so I had to pay. He also explained to me that I just needed to put the sauce on it. WHAT IS UP WITH THESE PEOPLE AND THIS FUCKING SAUCE?! IT WASN’T A SAUCE MADE OUT OF ANGEL TEARS, IT COULD FIX NOTHING. We went back and forth a bit and eventually he made it very clear he would not take the bibimbap off my ticket. I let him know that if this was the case, I would never come back and I would tell my friends to never come back, either. He assured me that he didn’t want me back, or any of my friends.

I put a 5$ on the table, let him know that was for the tip and I would not be paying. Jeremy and I walked out the door.

We got to our car and it turns out the owner had followed us to the car. He stood behind the car and said “So you are not going to pay?”, I told him I would pay for everything except for the bibimbap, which was awful. We went back and forth for a bit more and eventually he said he would take it off my ticket. I walked with him back to the store (the whole way, him telling me how much he never wanted me to come back and hopes none of my friends do, either). I ended up paying for everything but the bibimbap, which is EXACTLY what should have happened from the very beginning.

I ask you, my dear reader. What would you expect? If you didn’t eat your food because it was disgusting, could you imagine ANY situation where it would be okay for the owner to insist you to pay for it? I can’t picture a single situation where that would be okay.

So there you have it. Never, ever go to Seoul. Unless it is to tell the owner that you are my friend and you know that you are not wanted there.



Seoul on Urbanspoon


11 Responses to “If you have no soul, go to Seoul!”

  1. tena Says:

    I am confused. If you didn’t like the bibimbap the first time you went there, why order it again??? The dish is mixed rice. It is flavored with sauce. Also sounds like you have a texture issue with silken tofu. Fyi … Korean food almost always uses.some sort of animal flavoring … So it is extremely hard to eat vegan.

    • Jeremy! Says:

      I wasn’t the one eating it, but my primary problem was the fact that nothing had any seasoning, which the sauce couldn’t fix. Perhaps if the sauce had actually been delicious, it would have been OK.

      Plain, completely unseasoned and uncooked silken tofu is just unacceptable in any situation, I think. We use both it and regular tofu in our house fairly regularly.

    • Penelope Poppers! Says:

      Yes, I tried it again. It was so atrocious the first time, I assumed it must have been a fluke… but apparently not. Of course I have a problem with silken tofu when it is served raw and un-flavored. Put it in a smoothie, use it to create amazing baked goods, fry it, something. You don’t just casually throw it on top of a mound of already flavorless food. In fact, doing that makes you a bad chef and non-meat eaters should know that their right to flavor and pleasing textures will not be respected.

      But, lets ignore all the terrible food for a second. The biggest issue here ISN’T the awful bibimbap that I was served. The owner REFUSED to take the food that I was not happy with, off of my ticket. That isn’t something that is ever acceptable, anywhere for any reason. The fact that I had walk out of the store and almost drive away, just to get that item off my ticket, is unacceptable. I will never go back, nor will any of my friends. Hundreds of people have seen this post, people should know not to support an establishment with such terrible service.

  2. Elena Says:

    What an ASS!!! I’m never gonna eat there.

  3. Greg Says:

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  4. Marie Says:

    The seasoning of bibimbap is with the red pepper paste, which is strong by itself and one of the best parts of bibimbap, it is really good mixed with the dish. It usually comes on the side so a person can decide how much they’d like. I think the owners point is that if something was wrong with the dish, you shouldn’t have to pay, but if the dish was made correctly and is how they normally serve it, then you can’t expect them to refund everyone who doesn’t like it. Especially when you didn’t consume it the way it was meant to be eaten. The food there is really good and authentic Korean food, which I grew up eating. Furthermore, I think its irresponsible and rude for you to badmouth their restaurant- its a small business that is trying their best and I don’t think you gave them a fair review, especially if you don’t know a lot about Korean food. Sometimes the customer isn’t always right and I don’t believe in giving refunds just because someone makes a big enough fuss. I’m sure you felt really wronged at the time, but hopefully you can also look at it from the owners perspective, who was willing to stand by his product. And his being rude would really depend on if you were rude first. If you were rude to him, then I don’t see why he can’t be rude back.

    • Penelope Poppers! Says:

      The sauce was disgusting. It was not spicy, bland, flavorless paste that could not have saved any dish. Yes I tried the sauce, did you not read the part where I TRIED THE SAUCE? The sauce was terrible, you can’t mix terrible sauce with bland food to get a magical food experience. What you end up with is bland food swimming in terrible sauce. That’s science!

  5. Ann Says:

    You’re supposed to eat it with the sauce!! That’s what bibimbap is. It’s rice with veggies and meat/tofu that you mix all together with the sauce. It’s a very flavorful dish. The sauce makes all the difference, even better than angel tears! If you had listened to the waitress, you probably would have enjoyed a very good meal. It’s also better for you to add the sauce because the sauce is very spicy. You can control how much heat your dish has. Anyway, it’s stupid to blame the restaurant for your own ignorance and I don’t blame them for not wanting you back. If you ate it the way it was meant to be eaten and were unsatisfied, that’s one thing. But that’s not what happened here.

    • Penelope Poppers! Says:

      Did you not read the post? Let me make it more clear. I tried the sauce! I tried the sauce, it was awful. I tried THE RAW SILKEN TOFU, it was disgusting. Regardless of what you believe, you can’t add two disgusting things together to make something that is edible. That isn’t how the world works. Also, the sauce was not spicy, at all, that could have saved the dish. I was perfectly nice to the owner until he made it clear that I was going to have to walk out for him to take that awful nightmare of a dish off my ticket. The customer is always right, if I don’t like something, regardless of how “wrong” I ate it, you take it back, say you are sorry and give me a refund. End of story.

      • This Blog Sucks Says:

        “you can’t add two disgusting things together to make something that is edible”

        You can’t add two assholes with an overblown sense of entitlement together to make a decent blog, either. Sorry for your shit post.

  6. J Says:

    There is no excuse for bad or rude service. I have experienced it at Seoul as well.

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