Feeling disappointed and unfulfilled as we left House Filled with Happiness, basic human instinct took over: hunger. I was starving, my wife was starving and so was the little guy. At this point in time, we just wanted something familiar. We walked over to a nearby CU store and collected our thoughts. We noticed the map on page 222 seemed to have a variety of Western-style bars in the Hadang area of town. If there are Western bars, there has to be Western food. We weren’t really in the mood to try a new delicacy from the sea, so we grab the first taxi we saw and said, “Hadang.” Little did we know that Hadang is huge! The taxi driver seemed a little unsure of where to go, and for some reason, I said, “bus station”. He understood that and dropped us off.
We got the bus station, and there didn’t seem to be anything there. My wife had to pee, so we went to an S-Oil near the the bus station so she and the little guy could relieve the stress of nature. While they were in there, I asked the gas attendant guy if he knew where “Hadang” was. He pointed in a direction and I asked if it was a long time (my Korean sucks) and he said “Kinda”. I don’t know if it was the dehydration or the fatigue, or if I had just simply lost my damn mind, but something in the bowels of my mind decided that it would a good idea to walk there. My wife objected. I told her (slightly lied) that the gas station guy said it wasn’t that far. Ohh… once again, I should have listened to my better half.
After walking about 20 minutes with no end in sight, we finally waved down a taxi. This time, I saw “Hadang WA Bar” and the guy instantly knew where I wanted to go. Now, we had seen New York in the Lonely Planet. That was the original place we were going to. However, as we were driving, we saw what I thought was the bar and asked the driver to pull over. As he drove away, my wife noticed that we were actually at a restaurant called, “NewYork NewYork”, and not the “New York” bar that is described in the Lonely Planet. Fine, whatever, the menu looked solid, so we went in.
Directions: Don’t be a dumbass like me. Just get into a taxi and say “New York New York Hadang.” We didn’t really see any buses, nor did we really care to take a bus, so this is the best I can do. Apologies.
Atmosphere: NewYork NewYork is a family style, Western restaurant. It is a cross between a Bennigan’s and a Ponderosa. They had a deal going on (I think it was 50% off) because the place was packed with families. We got a spot right next to the window, so we could people watch (We saw two foreigners!). Although I was only there once, it was a loud, and often times, obnoxious because of the families. If you have ever spent any considerable time in Korea, you will understand that parents here let their children treat a restaurant as their own personal amusement park. Sometimes it’s amusing to watch servers contort their bodies in order to avoid pouring piping hot soup on to the smiling faces of the children. However, that night, I was not in the mood. So, gentle reader, if you are hot, tired and not in the mood for screaming Korean children, you might want to avoid this place on 50% off Saturday night.
Food: I got the breaded chicken and my wife had some pasta. Both dishes were fine, but uninspiring. I’m not going talk about the food too much because it really was just a run-of-the-mill Western joint, but it was satisfying, considering my next option was to eat a small child. My wife thought the pasta was a little bland, it appeared to be chicken Alfredo, and to be completely honest, I didn’t take a picture and forget the exact name of the dish. I had the breaded chicken, which had a sweet BBQ sauce on it, piled with onions. There was a scattering of fries and a spoon full of that funky purple rice that is all the rage right now in the ROK. It was satisfactory, I wasn’t expecting much. We had a couple of sodas and paid.
Value: At that point in time, I would have eaten anywhere that looked remotely Western, but I think there are some better options out there. I really liked “The Old Man and the Sea”, but it is nowhere near the Hadang area. Next time we visit Mokpo, we plan to explore the Hadang area a little more. However, the bill was only 15k for both meals, which is a pretty good bargain. I would go back, but only if there was nothing else available or I was too hungry to give a shit.
Type of travelers who might enjoy Newyork Newyork: Families who want their kids to blow off some steam. Also 50% off night is a great value for a large family. People who are really, really hungry and need a quick fix of Western food in Korea.
Who should avoid this place: Single guys who want to get laid. Try to find another place, Korean women don’t date cheapskates.