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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

SHEOBUL
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

We try to make it a point to avoid hotel restaurants and sample stand-alone restaurants in foreign cities but we had a little difficulty in Seoul.

We checked with the hotel concierge and he made what we thought was a good recommendation for dinner.  So we marked it on the map and headed out for a day tour of Seoul with a car and driver/tour guide hired from the Westin Chosun.  Turns out the driver was a dork.  I asked him to drop us off at the restaurant of our choice and showed him the location on the map.  A short time later he parked and escorted us upstairs to an odd looking restaurant.  Once seated I quickly realized that this wasn't the place I had asked to be taken  to so we dashed back downstairs, approached the car, got in and told him to drive us back to the hotel.  He seemed hostile.  Probably because he was going to lose the commission at the restaurant he worked with!  Based on this experience, I would not suggest hiring a car and driver from this hotel although the hotel itself was just beautiful.

Turns out this wasn't such a bad move because we wound up eating at the hotel's signature Korean restaurant--Sheobul--and it was terrific.

They featured traditional tables with grills in the center although by the time we got there, all of those were taken.  We had to settle for a "normal" table.

We both chose to order a Korean sampler and everything was wonderful.  Plate after plate, bowl after bowl arrived before us enabling us to get a good glimpse into Korean cooking.

Among the many things we were treated to were charcoal-grilled Bulgogi and kalbi, seafood pancakes, Bibimbap with the hot Korean chili paste, and of course plenty of rice and that traditional Korean staple kimchi.

 I chased it all down with a couple of bottles of local beer although I can't remember the brand name.  My wife opted to sip Korean hot tea throughout the meal.

By the time the feast was nearing an end we were practically the only ones in the place because we had started our dinner quite late.  But our server was so nice she didn't try to rush us although it was obvious that the restaurant was closed to any new arrivals for dinner.

If you've just arrived at the beautiful Westin Chosun hotel after a 15 hour flight from the U.S. and you're hungry, this would be an outstanding choice.  And even if you're not staying at the Chosun, I'm sure you would enjoy a fine meal in this elegant but not uppity restaurant.