I went to dinner with some friends last night. I played fifth-wheel with a double date. One couple was from England (Natalie and Ash) and the other was from new Zealand (Nat and Drew). It was a lot of fun. We went to an “Italian” restaurant near the Gamsam subway station. The dinner was mediocre by American standards, and would have offended an Italian, but we enjoyed it.
I ordered spaghetti with pork cutlet and chicken breast. As usual, it was too sweet and they skimped on the meat. The garlic bread that came with it tasted like garlic candy. Fortunately, the chicken appetizer we ordered was amazing. I assume it was good because it was a Korean dish and not a knock-off western dish.
The restaurant made a comically poor attempt at upscale. So poor, in fact, that it was funny to watch. There was one waiter, one waitress, and a hostess. They all wore nice uniforms, so they looked like an upscale wait staff. They started out strong, bringing us menus and a wine list. When we ordered a bottle of wine, the waitress brought us a re-corked bottle of house wine. She made a show of opening the bottle, but it was obvious that it had been re-corked because there was no seal over the mouth of the bottle and the wine-stained cork was sticking out of the top.
When we were ready to order, the hostess yelled across the restaurant for the waitress. Drew ordered a “steak”, but he was sorely disappointed when it arrived. It turned out to be a hamburger without the bun. Worse yet, the hamburger was stuffed with a weird rice tube that was the consistency of gnocchi. The tube was filled with super-sweet processed cheese. Needless to say, he skipped the prize in his burger.
The best part of the meal was a fruit plate that they brought at the end. The hostess made a show of announcing that it was “Suh-vee-suh” (service), which is the Korean term that means complimentary. All of the fruit was good, especially the apple. I ate apples often in NC, so it was great to have a few bites after our meal.
I realized at the end of the meal that we are already being spoiled by the low price of food here. We each paid about $25 for our meal, and it seemed ridiculously expensive. I haven’t paid more than $10 for a meal (including drinks) in over a month. The thought of a $25 dinner with wine and beer seemed outlandish. I guess I’m in for a real shock when I return to the states.
Until next time.