Thursday, July 21, 2016

a visit to 9 Ounce

Charles, Hyunjin, and I schlepped over to 9 Ounce, a burger joint that's a crowded shuttle-bus ride away from the center of Seoul National's campus. The place is popular, which means it's always crowded at mealtimes, so when Charles and I got there first (Hyunjin approached the resto separately), we were told we'd need to wait. We sat outside in the sweltering heat, trying to stay as immobile as possible as we talked, people-watched, and speculated on how many times the same SUV was circling around the block, possibly in search of a parking space.

Hyunjin showed up a few minutes after Charles and I sat down for our burger vigil; not long after that, a server called us inside.

Here's a pic of the restaurant's sign by the front door:

The singular "burger" seems a bit odd: "burgers and fries" would seem more natural, but that's a minor complaint given how good the food turned out to be.

Here's a peek at the menu:

I knew I'd be getting the Nine Ounce. Hyunjin ordered a California burger, which is apparently her usual here. Charles (help me out here, man) got either the Rucola or the Tongue Tied, both of which come with bacon.

Here are Hyunjin and Charles peering at the menu:

Next—a shot of our table setting. Sorry for the blurriness.

At last: the burger arrives! Below is a shot of my Nine Ounce. I'd failed to notice, on the menu, that the Nine Ounce came with caramelized onions on the patty; I scraped those off and gave them to Charles, who happily slapped them onto his burger.

The burger:

If you look at the above photo, you might not see the burger patty, but it's right there in front of you, covered in melted American cheese. The burger itself was fantastic, and it's obvious that that's the restaurant's focus, not fries or anything else. The fries were kind of a joke: I got maybe five or six on my plate, so I cracked to Charles that their presence was symbolic.

But the burger was large, juicy, and cooked to perfection. No one asked me how I wanted my patty, but that didn't matter: what came out was tender and prepped with care. Not having eaten anything all day, except for a light snack during my SNU class, I devoured my burger in just a couple minutes. Astonishingly, Hyunjin quickly slaughtered her own burger, completing the foul deed not long after I had finished. Charles, pokey as he is, took his time and finished his own burger off at a leisurely pace, talking and eating. He and Hyunjin ordered beers; I had myself a can of Coke followed by a can of Dr. Pepper. Charles noted that beer might be a tactical error on the restaurant's part: people tend to nurse their beers, which slows down turnover, and that's not a good thing on a busy night.

I was amazed at how busy the place was, and I couldn't help wishing that Joe's OK Burger might enjoy a similarly packed dinner crowd. I was also surprised to realize that, even though the Hongik University neighborhood is touted as a foodie destination, the SNU neighborhood seemed to have plenty of high-quality eateries scattered through it.

9 Ounce gets my seal of approval, although I wish they'd serve more fries with their burgers. Great atmosphere, great burgers, prompt service, a well-balanced menu, and plenty of reasons to go back. Like Arnold, I'll be back.


TheBigHenry said...


"The singular "burger" seems a bit odd"

It is less odd if you read the entire sign, "9-ounce Burger and Fries".

Kevin Kim said...

I agree that that would make the singular sound more sensible, but it would be at the cost of turning the phrase "nine-ounce" into a mere phrasal adjective modifying "burger and fries" instead of a proper-noun phrase that is the name of the restaurant.

So my reading of "9 Ounce" would be like the phrase "Blue Point" in the locution

Blue Point
Burgers and Fries

It's not that we're eating "blue-point burgers": it's that we're eating burgers at a joint called Blue Point.

True—I did eat a nine-ounce burger, but it was at a joint named 9 Ounce.

(Now, if the correct full name of the resto is indeed "9 Ounce Burger and Fries," then I fully concede your point because the grammar works just the way you say it does.)

My reading, anyway, for what it's worth.

Charles said...

My burger was the Tongue Tied, although it was a difficult choice between that and the Rucola, which is also very good. I've had the Four Seasons as well, which is good, but sort of difficult to eat because of the thick slabs of cheese that are stacked on top. I think it's more of a fork-and-knife burger, which is why I tend to not order--burgers should be picked up and eaten.

The fries are definitely symbolic, although I think it's nice that they do toss you a few when they have separate fries on the menu. Maybe we should have ordered an extra side of fries to split. I probably could have done that instead of my beer and been better off.

Oh, I don't know if you noticed, but they also have milkshakes. They're good, but they are very filling. HJ and I ordered a milkshake once, and that was enough. I like to focus on the burger.

As for the name, we've always just thought of it (and called it) "9 Ounce." I guess "burger & fries" might be part of the name, but I always thought of it as a descriptor. (Just did a little digging around, and it appears that the official name of the resto is "9ounce Burger.")

By the way, I think the pics came out pretty nice, blurriness on that one shot aside. I especially like the shot of the sign out front. Still kind of annoyed that I forgot my camera. I'll be directing folks here for photographic goodness when I put up my review this evening.

Kevin Kim said...


re: terminology

If the official name is "9 Ounce Burger," then score one for Henry, who is too much of a gentleman to press the issue. It occurred to me, after I'd written my earlier response, that "ounce" is also singular, indicating that the phrase is exactly what I said it shouldn't be—a phrasal adjective. After all, no one says "a nine-ounces burger."

So this round goes to Henry. Break out the piñata!

TheBigHenry said...

Good grief, Kevin, no one has ever called me a gentleman before! I am at a complete loss for words ... except to say, "Thank you".

Charles said...

My brief review is up. Even updated the RSS feed this time!