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Rostra rating: 1
Based on our recent visit to one of Beaverton’s highest rated VFM Korean restaurants, MagoGuide must issue a serious ranking downgrade from 3.5 rostras to 1 rostra. The major culprit for this serious demotion was a large piece of paper towel incorporated into a serving of yaki mandu (pan fried dumplings). Because the paper towel was inside the dumpling, we decided not to trust a second order and simply asked the owner to take the dish away and remove it from the bill. The owner was very apologetic and characterized the episode as “unacceptable.” To add insult to injury, yaki mandu (sans the bonus paper towel filling) was the tastiest dish of the meal.
The bulgogi lunch box composition was essentially old and cold. The previously excellent pajeon (scallion and seafood crepe) was leaden and luke, while the bulgogoi bland and tepid, and the rice was cool and gluey.
The accompanying banchan sides were, with the exception of the kimchi, skimpy and uninteresting to the point of culinary boredom.
Soondooboo (spicy soft tofu soup with vegetables and kimchi) was not spicy due to overabundance of tofu, which dominated all of the ingredients to the extent that the normally unctuous mouth feel and flavor of raw egg yolk was completely submerged. At least the rice showed up hot and recently cooked.
Throughout the meal, the owner/server seemed preoccupied and basically off his game. Usually garrulous and omnipresent, he was mostly apologetic and absent. The restaurant struck Team Mago as chronically understaffed, especially given the smattering of post-lunch covers that were competing for the owner’s attention as he tried to serve us and bus tables left over from lunch.
Hae Rim continues to be a social media darling, consistently receiving a 4 out of 5 rating across all the major platforms. Team Mago’s recent experience, however, constitutes yet another nail in the coffin of gastronomic crowd sourcing, and demonstrates that local knowledge is gained primarily through multiple visits over time to gauge the consistency of a kitchen, which is key to satisfied diners regardless of a venue’s cost and sophistication. Given that Hae Rim is only one of numerous VFM Korean restaurants in Beaverton, the consistency and safety of its food constitutes this restaurant’s only discriminator. Live by your food, die by your food; regardless of the half-baked mendacity that TripAdvisor et al spew continuously into the gastrosphere.