Thursday, January 9, 2014

Grub Club: SuRa

SuRa is a Korean restaurant in the Blue Mon Building, which is a fairly glitzy locale, but in spite of all its shininess it utterly failed to impress.  This was Wallflower's first grub club pick, and it pains me to have to tear it up.  It should have been a good pick - and it smelled like it would be when we first got there - but it wasn't.  This is not just me being a hardass because I spent 3 years living in Bundang and eating some truly fantastic food (although I did), nor is it because I can cook Korean better than they can (although it would appear that I can).  It was just not as great as it should have been for the price and presentation.
I am a sucker for the foods Koreans serve in their snack bars.  I ate a lot of dolsot bibimbap (hot pot rice and vegetables) and gun mandu (fried dumplings) over those three years; in fact, these were the first two Korean foods I tried.   So my mouth was watering when our food finally got to the table.  I didn't even stop to stir up the egg so it could start cooking before I grabbed one of those delicious looking dumplings and took a big bite...of green stuff and clear glass noodles.  Seriously.  I've had mandu with kimchi, and mandu with just meat, and Bronte even taught me to add tofu to them, which somehow makes a perfect thing even better, but I have never had them with green stuff (presumably spinach).  Several of us shared orders - Geek, Blondie, Engrish, Squeaker - and not one of us ate more than a couple.  Blondie thinks the gyoza at Oishi Ramen have spoiled us.

Whatever the case may be, I moved on to my bibimbap and didn't look back.  Unfortunately, it fared little better.  They served it with some kind of runny red sauce.  It was spicy, but it wasn't the right sauce, gochu jjang.  I asked our waiter to bring me the correct sauce.  When he finally came back, he communicated that this was the only sauce they had.  I told him I needed a box then.  It's pretty sad when you are eating at a Korean restaurant that doesn't have an essential condiment in their kitchen, but you do.  I'm planning on eating it today for lunch.  He does get credit for bringing an English speaker over to figure out what I wanted, but when she came back again from the kitchen, all she could give me was ssam jjang, which is closer, but still definitely NOT the right thing.
It's a good thing I decided to be a pig and order kimchi stew as well, because otherwise I would have gone home hungry Wednesday night.  This, at least, was right, although Wallflower ordered it because I suggested it, and she had to have me taste it to be sure it was supposed to taste that way.  Someone ordered kimbap, which seemed to go over alright, while Squeaker ordered bulgogi, which apparently her new fiance suggested when she was home getting herself engaged.  The big winner of the night was Blondie, who ordered their spicy pork and tofu stir-fry, which she gave a 9, because she's easy like that.

Honestly, I was in Seoul five days ago.  If I wanted great Korean food, I should have had it then.  I take 100% of the blame for not doing so.  I should have made a beeline on December 4th to Gangnam and wandered its alleys until I found a dalkgalbi restaurant, because I would just about kill for a hit of this spicy deliciousness.  But you'll see why I didn't in my next post.  In the meantime, if you want to check out SuRa to be sure I'm not just being a Korean food snob, the Blue Mon building, where they're located, is at the corner of Baga Toiruu where it intersects with Beijing St.  If you are going from Sukhbaatar Square, walk north along the east side until you get to the street that runs along the back of the government palace garden, and go to the first major intersection.  It's next to Urgoo Cinema.


  1. Hi, I really like your article. I will keep coming here, Thanks.. Very delicious