Falling victim to the restaurant closures of Easter long weekend, we were left to figure out another new place to find to eat at – for dinner this time around.  I was really in the mood for tacos, but La Taqueria was closed (sad face).  So, what were we to do?  I left it up to Mark to decide what type of cuisine to try and he decided he wanted to find a Korean joint.

Not knowing which Korean joint to go to, we headed up Robson Street, where we would surely run into at least a few Korean restaurants.  In the distance, I spotted a sign that said SURA.  Well, this looks promising, I thought to myself.  Calgary has a similarly named Korean restaurant which I absolutely love, so if the name is any indication, it should be excellent, right?  This was my logic.

Before we made our official decision, we checked out the menu board.  It looked pretty good with a lot of different dishes, so we headed inside.

Korean restaurants are usually not known for their decor – they usually look more “homey” and sometimes dodgy – but this one was very different.  It was obviously meant to be a modern Korean restaurant with a clean, contemporary style and none of the homeyness of the usual Korean joints.

We weren’t terribly hungry, so we ordered the dukbokki with beef to share and Mark got the bulgogi dolsot bibimbap (I guess this is special since it comes with bulgogi?).

So… this is where it kinda starts going downhill.

First, I ordered a water that never came.

Second, Mark’s dolsot bibimbap came with only 4 ingredients: bulgogi, sprouts, mushrooms, and some herb on top which was more like a garnish.

It looks nice, but where is the fried egg?  How can a bibimbap not come with a fried egg on top?  That’s the best part!  And honestly, only sprouts and mushrooms?  Bibimbap usually comes with a plethora of different veggies.  Mark, who was clearly miffed and pretty annoyed by the lack of egg and veggies, tried to track down a server (on a side note, this was another issue – when we needed a server, there was none to be found in the vicinity).  Once he finally got hold of one, he asked politely, if it was supposed to come with an egg.  The server said that no, the bulgogi version doesn’t come with an egg – only the regular “vegetarian” version comes with it.  I could clearly tell that Mark was not pleased with this answer, so he went ahead and asked if he could please get an egg.  Server obliged and off she went.

When the egg did come, it was burnt around the edges.  Oh well, at least Mark got a fried egg.

The dukbokki wasn’t too bad, but the beef was way too chewy.  Not sure what cut of beef they used, but it was clearly meant for slow cooking.

We also got their seasonal banchan, which was only 3 side dishes.  I guess we’re used to be spoiled with at least 6 side dishes so this was another disappointment.

And still, even well into the meal, NO WATER came.

There was nothing inherently bad about the food, but it was just the overall experience that was really disappointing.  The icing on the cake was when we got the bill.  We were charged $1.50 for the fried egg.  A DOLLAR FRICKIN’ FIFTY FOR A BURNT FRIED EGG?!  Seriously, that really set Mark off and by that point he was pretty pissed.  He is a gentleman though and kept his cool when one of the servers came by to clear our table.  The server asked, “how was everything?” and Mark just managed a smile and nodded.  I knew inside he was itching to say that the whole experience sucked.

At that point, the server came back to the table with the portable debit machine and asked again how everything was (why, I don’t know, since he’d already asked us only minutes ago).  This time Mark shrugged and said, “eh”.  He’s really not the type to make a big deal, plus it’s not like we would ever go back to this place again, so it wasn’t even worth the effort of saying anything.

For me personally, I’m not into the idea of “glamourising” Korean food to make it hip and contemporary.  There’s a reason why most Korean restaurants look so homey – that’s how the food is supposed to be.  It’s supposed to look home-cooked and rustic, just how mom would make it, and it’s supposed to stay true to its roots.  I don’t know, am I behind on the food trends?  I guess I just like my Korean food to be old school and stay old school.  There’s no need to embellish it.  Like the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I’m sure there are plenty of people who enjoy Sura.  But for us, it was a total miss.

To sum up this whole experience, I can’t think of a better clip:

Apparently my logic sucks and we should’ve made the trip to Burnaby for good Korean food.

Sura Korean Cuisine
1518 Robson St.
Vancouver, BC V6G 1C2
Phone: (604) 687-7872

Sura on Urbanspoon