There are a lot of little things that I prefer not to deal with if I can. One of them is going to a Richmond restaurant on a weekend night. I find it ridiculous to see how empty some places can be when it’s a normal Tuesday night but by the time Saturday night hits, the restaurant is filled to the brim with people. The staff is always running around like a chicken with its head chopped off and most of the time, this leads to a mediocre dining experience… And that’s the reason I’m trying to sucker myself into justifying the less than pleasant visit to Man Ri Sung.
First to arrive were the banchan. These weren’t memorable and I do recall them being more on the bland side.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was probably too busy so we weren’t able to see the chef carve it at the table side. The duck was pretty meaty and juicy, although nothing was really going on flavour wise. I was expecting the skin to be crispy and it ended up being chewy in an unpleasant manner. I wanted to be blown away by the duck, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the japchae more than the duck! The sweet potato noodles were bouncy and cooked perfectly, with a taste of sesame oil. There were a lot of veggies in this and it wasn’t too oily either.
And finally, we have the hot pot. It’s a simple broth made from the duck and is filled with noodles and a ton of vegetables. The noodles were similar to thick hand-cut noodles but they were undercooked and hard to chew through. All in all, this was a healthier dish and hearty enough to fill you up in case the dishes before didn’t.
I wasn’t that impressed by my visit to Man Ri Sung. The food wasn’t spectacular and the best part about it would the prices since this meal for 4 only costs about $80 after taxes and tips. But I think what will stop me from coming back here is the atrocious service that we received.
When we arrived, the restaurant was full and bustling with energy, but I’ve seen busier situations elsewhere. We were led to our table and then just proceeded to sit there for 20 minutes. With no tea. Or even menus. Other tables were probably wondering what the hell we were doing just sitting there like that. I flagged down a server for some tea but that request was ignored until much later. And I even gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that they were probably aware that we made a reservation for the duck so that’s why we weren’t given menus. But no one came to clarify that we had ordered the duck feast and would like to know what our choices for the dishes would be. So we kept waiting. I finally was able to get a server’s attention and get some menus to look at. Hooray, we actually got something to arrive to the table! Tea followed a few minutes later. Getting a server’s attention again was just as difficult as the previous attempts. And guess what, he was aware that we made a reservation for the duck. So… were we supposed to just keep sitting there until the kitchen sent out random food to us then? What was the point of all that wait? Is that how the regulars do it here? Service was non-existent and we were ignored for the rest of the meal and getting the bill was extremely difficult too. Now, I am all too aware of the bad reputation that the service in Korean restaurants have. Hence, I wasn’t expecting much and was just looking forward to the basics but this was beyond bad. I felt extremely frustrated and couldn’t enjoy my meal as much as I would have liked. Which is disappointing, since other reviews seemed to be really positive and this seemed like a restaurant worth supporting. But I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time convincing myself to give this place a second chance.