Tuesday, February 03, 2015

eating the coveted burger

I'm trying to get some final eats in before I move out of this area. One thing I've had my eye on for months has been a tall-stacked cheeseburger made at the Grand Ambassador Hotel (or just "the Ambassador"), which I pass by almost every day on my way either to Dongguk University's campus or to the Dongdae Ipgu subway station. It was during one of my flybys that I looked into the hotel lobby's vitrine and saw a server plunking down a plate holding a gigantic hamburger—and right at that moment I fell in lust. The thing was huge: piled high, full of trimmings, with an impressive beef patty. I knew I'd have to step into the hotel at least once to give that burger a try. Today, I did just that.

The Ambassador has two main dining areas: when you step inside the main entrance, there's an expensive buffet to your right. Off to the left is the comparably expensive Lobby Lounge & Deli, which is where I went, since that's where I had seen the burger being served. I knew the food would be hellaciously expensive: the Ambassador is, after all, a fairly nice hotel. (I'm not sure that it rates "posh" or "swanky," but its clientele always looks moneyed.) I guessed that the burger would set me back about W30,000 to W40,000. I was right.

Here's a shot (blurry—sorry) to give you an idea of the ambiance:

Here's the menu, done up in heavy binding to lend it dignity and gravitas:

Click the following image to enlarge. It shows the entry, in the menu, for the burger I ordered.

And lastly, the burger itself, guarded by a basket of home fries:

It was a fantastic meal, but not perfect. The bacon in the burger wasn't crispy, and the home fries were more soft than crunchy, which was a bit disappointing, considering the amount of money I was paying. Those details aside, though, the burger was light years ahead of A Certain Other Burger from a Certain Itaewon Pub That Shall Remain Nameless. The luscious beef patty offered some resistance to the bite; the vegetables were fresh and crunchy; the bread was spot-on—soft but firm, like a woman's toned ass. Was the fare worth nearly thirty dollars? Well... no. There aren't many meals that I think are worth that amount of cash. But it was a great dining experience all the same, and if I ever find myself flush with funds in the near future, I wouldn't mind sitting down to that burger again.



Charles said...

Question: Were you able to fit that burger, as is, into your mouth? I am personally getting a little tired of all these burgers being piled so high, like they were made-to-order for Dagwood himself. I should be able to pick up a burger and bite into the whole thing, not just one layer. I shouldn't have to remove anything before I do so.

There's a burger place near us called Nine Ounce that has very good burgers... but they are piled so high I end up with a burger and some salad on the side made up of the toppings I have to take off to fit the thing in my mouth.

Seriously, go wide all you want, but for the love of all that is holy, stop piling those burgers so high! How I long for a BurgerFuel burger every time I see a tower burger.

(There's actually a place in 경리단 that has good non-tower burgers... just gotta remember what it's called. We should go sometime.)

Kevin Kim said...


As you might guess, the burger got easier to fit into my mouth as time went on. I did wish, at some points, that I could unhinge my jaw like a snake and just swallow the whole thing down. I was taking upper-half and lower-half bites out of the beast at the beginning, so some of my bites were meat-free. The burger became more compressible, though, when there were fewer burger molecules to deal with.

I know what you mean about the frustration of eating hard-to-bite burgers. That's one thing that Burger King gets right: its burgers tend to be wide and flat. Now if only they tasted a bit more inspiring...

John (I'm not a robot) said...

Charles would no doubt hat "The Namsan Tower Burger" from Bull and Barrel. I've never ordered one (and I do like my burgers) because I know I could never get the damn thing into my mouth properly.


daeguowl said...

I know you're averse to facebook but there are some good groups on there that highlight decent places to get top quality food in Seoul...you really should check 'em out.

Charles said...


That's just ridiculous. Anything that you need to shove a stake into to keep together should automatically be disqualified from calling itself a burger.