SeoulSpice Opens Penn Quarter Location
SeoulSpice opened its fifth location, this one in Penn Quarter across from Jaleo on Nov. 12, but unlike its other locations in NoMa, Tenleytown, College Park and the Westfield Montgomery Mall, the 439 Seventh St. NW location has no tables and only four chairs at two window counters.
A press release about the opening claimed the 2,000-square-foot space was “reimagined as a response to COVID.” However, stadium seating (basically risers in the back corner of the restaurant) requires diners who chose to eat-in to sit closer together than if they were seated at traditional tables. The restaurant also does not provide space for people with disabilities to dine as the stadium seating is similar to bleachers in high school gyms that diners must climb up to sit on. In fact, the stadium seating appears to have been from the former Bakers and Baristas a few doors away. That space, currently for rent, has a gaping hole where its risers had been.
“We are thrilled to announce the addition of a new Penn Quarter location to better serve our community,” owner Eric Shin said in the press release. “We love the history of the area, the proximity to museums, the National mall, metro, everything. There is also a great balance of both residential, work and tourism. Not to mention the benefits of being in the same block as other local fast-casual brands such as Sweetgreen and Cava.” But those other restaurants do provide traditional seating.
Like its other four locations, the Penn Quarter restaurant serves gluten-free rice ($8.99), noodle ($8.79) and salad bowls ($8.79) and korritos (Korean-style burritos, $8.49) with a choice of protein, vegetables and sauces.
Proteins include thin-sliced marinated ribeye (bulgogi, +$3.99), marinated chicken (dak, +$2.99), spicy pork (jeyuk gui, +$3.29) and tofu (+$2.79). The veggie selection includes corn, cucumbers, carrots, Korean radish, bean sprouts, kale slaw and kimchi – a spicy fermented cabbage. House-made sauces include Korean hot sauce, creamy Sriracha, ginger-carrot and cilantro-lime ranch. Additional toppings include cilantro, scallions, roasted sesame seeds, crispy garlic, sesame oil, fire powder, a medium-boiled egg marinated in soy sauce (+$1.99) and avocado (+$1.99).
Shin opened the first SeoulSpice in NoMa in 2016. During the height of the COVID pandemic, the NoMa and Tenlytown locations switched to Korean BBQ pop-ups.
SeoulSpice, 439 Seventh St. NW. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.