I have incredibly mixed feelings about Eat Me. We went here for Valentine's Dinner and, let's be real, between the need to turn tables and special menus, Valentine's Day doesn't always showcase a restaurant's best work. The menu at Eat Me is large, interesting and ambitious. It's definitely much more adventurous than any Western food I've had in Seoul, and I was really excited about that. However, the execution of a lot of the dishes simply didn't measure up to the expectation of such a unique menu. While I'd probably go again if I found myself in Bangkok, if the same restaurant existed in New York, I'd be disappointed.
Let's talk appetizers.
We got three: Heirloom tomato salad with olive oil ice cream, mint basil and parmesan, line caught ahi crudo with blood orange, pomegranate, scezuan pepper and sea urchin and spicy Australian strip loan steak tartare with fried quail egg.
I know, I know, you're like "Really, Alana? Tomatoes in February? You should know better". Aaand, normally I do. Normally I wouldn't go near a tomato salad before late June but I figured maybe in Thailand they manage to have good tomatoes year round. Also, I love olive oil ice cream and this salad sounded so interesting. I should've known better. The tomatoes were grainy, I'm pretty sure the mint was missing and the olive oil ice cream was fine but certainly not the best I've ever had. Mostly this dish just really made me want to make a better version of it once tomatoes are in season.
Our Ahi crudo had beautiful plating but those weren't blood oranges and it was missing the sichuan pepper which was part of the reason we ordered it instead of the oysters with champagne granita. It was still a pretty solid dish but it wasn't as interesting as I wanted it to be.
As for the tartare, it wasn't just a few fresh peppers mixed in to give it a bit of spice and compliment the flavor, the whole thing was so spiced I couldn't taste the steak. I don't know about you, but not being able to tell the quality and flavor of the raw beef I'm eating makes me a little nervous. It was ok. I wouldn't order it again but we ate most of it.
For my main I got pappardelle with with braised rabbit ragu and spicy njuda sausage. The papardelle was perfectly cooked and I would guess house made or at least fresh pasta instead of dried. The ragu was good, but the flavor of the spicy sausage was so strong it completely overwhelmed the braised rabbit. Spicy sausage ragu is something I still might've ordered but if a dish has braised rabbit in it I want it to be for a reason not just to make it read better on the menu. Dan's main was crispy skin duck confit with roasted beet root, fennel and banyuls gastrique. At the time I remember him saying he thought his own duck confit was better and when I asked him about it right now his only response was "it was unremarkable". I'm sure I must've tried it but I cannot remember anything about it, so "unremarkable" seems incredibly accurate.
The Lonely Planet description of Eat Me says it has some of the city's best desserts and since ordering the things that sounded interesting to me hadn't worked so far, I decided to keep it simple and go with flourless chocolate cake. We only ordered one dessert so I'm not sure if I just ordered poorly but it was not my favorite. The entire menu description was just "flourless dark chocolate cake" so I thought I'd be getting a simple slice maybe dusted in powdered sugar. What I got was a huge dense slice in a pool of chocolate sauce that tasted like uncooked cocoa powder with a fudge-y frosting. It was not very good and way too huge a portion for that much richness. I wish I had ordered the lemongrass creme brulee or some other more adventurous item instead.
The one thing that we were unequivocally happy with was the bar (even though I did get gold leaf from this Gold Rush all over myself). The drinks were delicious and looking behind the bar at how well prepped and efficiently set up it was made my little chef's heart sing. I can't tell you how many times in Seoul I've wanted to jump over the bar and rearrange a bartender's entire station as I've watched them walk back and forth the entire length of the bar MULTIPLE TIMES to make my Old Fashioned.
If you're coming from a city where you have many options for interesting, ambitious western food, just go to Eat Me's bar. If you, like me, are living #expatLIFE, Eat Me is worth a try just to remind you that there are still people out there doing interesting things with food even if they need a little work on doing it well.