A little while ago I made a trip to Seoul with the intent to meet a friend, and then ended up getting stood up. This is not a sad story. One of the things to know about me, if we’re going to be friends (and why else would you read this unless you wanted to be my friend? Oh, you want to hear a restaurant review? Right. Huh. Well… This is awkward…), one of the things to know is that I really, really love cancelled plans. This is not sarcasm. I love when I have something that I have to go do, and I’ve pumped myself up for it and made a decision to go, and then I find out that I no longer have to go. Why? Because then I can let myself relax. All of that energy I’ve been storing up in order to power through this social gathering can be released into something that isn’t stressful for me, like reading, or making stuff, or spending time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I almost always enjoy going out with friends, and I love a good party. But the pure relief I feel when I learn that the constant low-level but present anxiety that eats at me during the lead-up to these interactions goes away?
Pure, ecstatic, laughing about nothing bliss.
So instead the Lobster Bar is super easy to find, on the main strip outside of the subway stop at Itaewon. Or, if you’re like me and have one main reason to go to Itaewon: a block or two down the street from What the Book, the English language bookstore in Itawewon. I went by What the Book, bought an indecent/incredible haul of books, then headed over to Lobster Bar for a solitary, book-centric late lunch. I thought it would be a fun, relaxing idea to eat some critically-acclaimed food while I got a start reading Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon, a YA book about a boy living in a dystopian world that resembles a mashup of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia called the Motherland.
And guess what? It was, as most of my ideas are, pretty damn excellent.
I had the Lobster Roll and oh my. Was my mouth pleased. The roll was buttery, salty, crisp on the outside but pillowy soft. How do food bloggers do this? I am starving thinking about it. The lobster (which was, I’m pretty sure, real lobster) was cut in thick colorful chunks. It was salty and buttery and had a nice texture that contrasted with the crunchy lettuce.
On the side, of course, I got french fries. Thin crunchy steak fries. Nothing special, but still very good. And incredible honey mustard. INCREDIBLE.
There was also coleslaw, which, I have to say, I had the lowest of expectations for. It’s the most hit or miss food I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, it’s so easy to screw up coleslaw that I barely even register it’s on the plate. But damn. This coleslaw tho. It was SO GOOD. Not too mayonnaise-y. Not weirdly sweet like some coleslaws? Just… I don’t know, you know what good coleslaw tastes like right? It tasted like that. Delicious. And a really great refresher for the palate after the buttery saltiness of the roll and fries. Yeah, I said palate. I’m basically Anthony Bourdain. One thing, though: the coleslaw had corn in it, which is, I’m assuming, a consequence of the Korean obsession of “let’s put corn in every single thing ever.” But it didn’t bother me, still really good.
Despite planning on getting a gin and tonic, I ended up randomly trying the Lemon Honey Ginger Beer. Holy Moly guys. That’s all I can say. This was the best beer I’ve ever had. I don’t know what the brand is, because it was on tap and honestly who remembers to take a picture of the menu when you’re starving? Not this moi. This beer was so delicious. Mostly lemony, super refreshing and light, but with enough ginger to keep it from tasting like Pledge, and pleasantly fizzy. SO GOOD. UGH. I want that right now, too. Basically I want to stop writing this review and go back and eat there, but here I am, typing away. See what I do for you, blog? Do you see??
The restaurant’s up on the second floor, and the inside is very industrial shipping yard-inspired, with lots of natural light from the wall of windows. I chose a window seat, like you do, then immediately regretted it when I realized there was a puppy adoption happening across the street.
Ye gods, why must thou torture me so?!? I planned to go afterwards, but it’s probably good for both my mental health and criminal record that I forgot to, because I would have taken home one of those dogs no matter how fast I had to run away with it.
The waiter was super nice, and they were really not busy at all, but that’s probably because it was like 3pm. Not exactly hopping restaurant time.
I’ll definitely be going back, next time I want to try their Lobster Grilled Cheese because are you serious? That should be illegal.
So for most of my solo restaurant reviews, I have a feeling I’ll also have something of a book review because staring out trying to not make eye contact with people from other tables is not my favorite thing to do. Maggot Moon was incredible. I started it during my lunch and got a good 40 or so pages in, and later finished it on the KTX. It was one of my Runners-up for top book of 2015. I loved the main character, and all of the characters really, they were so lifelike, their dialogue was all perfectly crafted to fit their ages and the environment (fascist regime) they lived in. I loved the plot, and the mysteries behind it. The only thing that kept it out of the top books of 2015 for me was that about 85% of the way in, the plot lost a little of its steam. I started to feel like it was slowing, and though the end was satisfying in a way, I felt like I had to work harder to get to it than I thought I was going to have to halfway through the book. That sounds like I don’t want a challenging story, which isn’t true, I just thought the writing lost some of its sparkle after the midway point. That being said, I highly, highly recommend it, as its one that I like more and more the more I think about it.