Saturday, August 23, 2014

Arti: avoid

There's a small faux-Japanese restaurant called Arti that's just up the street from where I live. I'd first caught sight of it several days ago and was intrigued by the menu standing out front. When I went over to the restaurant the next day, however, I saw that it was closed. It was a weekday, and dinnertime, so this seemed odd (and should have been the first sign of trouble, in retrospect). I saw the restaurant was in operation yesterday, when I was doing a walkabout with Tom, so I gambled that it would be open today. Sure enough, it was, and I sat myself down for a meal at 6:30PM—squarely in the middle of the dinner rush.

Tellingly, I was the only customer there. The tables were absolutely bare—no napkins, no sujeo (spoons and chopsticks), no nothing. I was given a single, dinky cup of water for starters; I downed it in two swallows. I ordered a curry donggaseu; it arrived quickly, and even though the sujeo came out with the meal, no napkins were given. The pork cutlet itself was embarrassingly small—small and thin. Side dishes were little more than tiny-cubed ggakdugi and a couple sad slices of danmuji.

The lady who sat me down (apparently, it was just her, one other guy, and a lone cook managing the place) lamely offered me a free cup of coffee; I told her I don't drink coffee, then I paid and left as quickly as I could. What a disappointment. I can't recommend Arti to anyone: a bad first impression, poor service, and awful food. The fact that no one visits the place at dinnertime means that word has gotten around, and unless Arti buckles down and cleans up its act soon, it's going to go under within a year.


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