In a word: I came to this strange world hoping I could learn a bit 'bout how to give and take.
JM ate the beef bulgogi.
Kristine ate the rock bowl bibimbop (without egg).
Kyle ate the rock bowl bibimbop (with egg).
Nichole ate the chapjae with ginger tea.
Nino ate the miso soup and pork bokum.
We split the beef dumplings and tukbokgi.
The bill was $69, or $13.80/person, plus tip.
Kyle gave New Seoul an A-; Kristine gave New Seoul a B+; Nichole and JM gave New Seoul a B (see our grading rubric).
New Seoul's slightly shabby interior shouldn't deter you from the rewarding eats inside. See if you can rustle up some dining companions, because it's more fun when you can sample a little bit of everything or share a giant bowl of junghol soup, served with its own burner.
Dinner starts with a nice mix of spicy and pickled flavors in the little panchan dishes. New Seoul offers kimchi, potato, fish cake and crunchy pickled radish, and when asked even shared some general recipes. We liked the large chunky daikon radish one especially - it was a good mix of hot and juicy and a bit sweet when you bit into it.
We were all grateful to Kyle for making sure the beef dumplings hit the table. They were nearly perfect, served very hot, with a nice contrast of chewy inside and crispy outside. If they had a stronger garlic or other savory component, they'd be even better.
The tukbokgi, little tubes of pillowy rice paste, are a nice starchy appetizer, and a house specialty. Nino suggested we make sure to grab an onion for each bite of rice cake for the full flavor combo. The sauce was a good mix of spicy and tomato-y-ness. In summary: weird but good.
Kristine, who is up on all the ways that your food can kill you, had some misgivings about un(der)cooked egg in her rock cooker bibimbap, but after seeing how Kyle's practically cooked itself she'd get it again, WITH the egg. In terms of flavor, Kyle actually found the dish to be a little bland, even with ample hot sauce (which incidentally wasn't all THAT hot). In terms of satisfaction and sustenance, the dish is pretty awesome. He loves eggs, and he loved stirring that egg into the veggies and beef. The crusty bits of rice at the bottom were a treat, and the aroma was fantastic and made the rest of the table jealous. He was surprised but not regretful that he ate the whole thing.
Nino felt the same way about the pork bokum: he couldn't believe he ate the whole thing! He opined:
The portion looked gigantic, but was so tasty it disappeared with almost no effort. The pork was juicy and tender. The spiciness, though listed as "**** SPICY ONLY", danced perfectly on the edge of being hot enough to wake up your mouth, but not so hot as to prevent you from wanting to eat more. Just right.
Nichole got her standby, the chapjae of clear sweet potato noodles, and it was just OK. As with everything on the menu, it was less spicy than one would think. JM's beef bulgogi was a large piece of flat, salty beef, and was largely a one note dish. If JM didn't go into full-on gastronomic emergency whenever he ate hot sauce, he might've tried this dish with something spicy. He didn't mind his repast but he also wouldn't recommend it.
Overall, New Seoul's offerings are really tasty and well-prepared. If you like your food hot, ask for extra heat; don't shy away from the raw egg, and expect generous portions for the price.