Monday, July 13, 2009
I couldn't believe my ears.
I went out for Korean lunch today, at Choong Moo Ro, one of the many Korean restaurants on 32nd Street. I ordered the dduk mandoo kuk (rice cake & beef dumpling soup), which is usually $9.95 for lunch. But the waitress asked me if I wanted the regular size or the $2.95 lunch special. "What's that?" I asked. She told me it was a smaller bowl of the soup. I figured I'd give it a try. I wasn't that hungry anyway.
It was about half the size of a full order, with 2 or 3 mandoo (dumplings), a bunch of sliced rice cake, some slices of beef and clear noodles. I was also served some banchan (side dishes), but only 3 instead of the usual 5 or 6: the obligatory kimchee, string beans, and spicy eggplant. I also got dessert, a cold, sweet soup. All for $2.95 plus tax.
At that price I certainly couldn't leave a 20% tip. I don't believe in tipping less than a dollar. And even a dollar didn't seem right. After all, the staff were doing the same work as if I had ordered the $9.95 version. So I figured an even fiver would be appropriate.
In addition to the soup I had, they also offer several kinds of spicy ramyeon (ramen) for $2.95. I'll have to go back to try one of those.
As I was walking back to the subway I noticed that another restaurant on the block, Shilla, was offering a daily cut-rate lunch special in addition to their regular lunch menu. Each day a different dish is featured at $5.95. For instance, on Tuesday you can get sul long tang (ox bone broth with beef and noodles), and on Thursday they offer soon dooboo chigae (spicy soft tofu soup).
Choong Moo Ro
10 W. 32nd St.
37 W. 32nd St.