A New York restaurant was slapped with a lawsuit and closed as a couple alleged their order of beef soup was delivered with “the most disgusting thing in our food.”
Owners of Manhattan Koreatown restaurant Gammeeok on W. 32nd Street were forced to defend their reputation after being accused of health code violations. In addition to earning a “C” rating from the New York City Department of Health, the restaurant is being sued for inducing “severe, serious and permanent personal injuries” to a couple claiming they were served rat.
Eunice Lucero-Lee had taken to Instagram on March 13 to announce the suit with a post that included graphic images of what appeared to be a dead rodent in her bowl of sogogi-gukbap. The editor for Best Products wrote, “We ordered in from a well-known restaurant called Gammeeok in K-Town and found the most disgusting thing in our food. If you’re squeamish, skip my next 2 stories.”
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Lucero-Lee went on to write, “We have been going to this restaurant for a decade and otherwise proud supporters of Asian cuisine and culture. This incident is in no way to fuel race-based hate or prejudice, and I will have an issue with anyone who uses these posts to fit that narrative.”
However, owners of the restaurant fired back on their own social media account with a video allegedly showing the soup being prepared for the plaintiffs.
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They explained, “We are open 24 hours, and there are at least 3 or 4 people in the kitchen at all times,” adding, “As you can see in the video, it doesn’t make sense for a rat to avoid people and enter a pot on a hot fire.”
“When we transferred the soup, we served it four times with a ladle while the staff watched it with their eyes. If there was a mouse that big, there’s no way I wouldn’t have missed it. There is also a video recording of the recording process. We checked the whole process of making the soup, but we couldn’t find any problems,” they wrote.
They also countered claims that suggested they had offered the customer a $5,000 bribe to remain silent by claiming “the manager said he would give an ubereats refund guide and $100 gift card in the spirit of always treating customer complaints in keeping a low profile,” but it was the customer who demanded $5,000 before a hospital visit which then brought the sought after sum up to $25,000.
Gammeeok further alleged that the couple had a history of making claims against restaurants after drawing attention to a six-year-old Yelp review, since deleted, that alleged another Korean eatery had served them soup with a bug in it.
“It’s a rare experience to most people in their whole life,” Gammeeok wrote. “They remove the review now. Why? Can you tell us?”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Health Department announced that Gammeeok had been closed Wednesday, “following an inspection.”
“No New York City restaurant is authorized to have mice or rats on the menu and we are investigating further,” the statement went on. “Our top priority is protecting the health of New Yorkers and if a restaurant has conditions that threaten our city’s diners, they will be shut down.”
According to the New York Post, the restaurant had previously been inspected on Jan. 18 and was alleged to have several sanitary violations that included an improperly washed food contact surface and “food, supplies and equipment not protected from a potential source of contamination.”
Gammeeok’s New Jersey location was reportedly still open.
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