Mingee’s Korean Kitchen

Saturday 02 June, 2018

Mingee's Korean Kitchen - Eau Gallie - 4 stars

"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul."- Abbey

Good service will never make bad food tasty, but bad service can ruin a good meal. Mingee's could be a five star restaurant. It could even make the Hidden Gem list. However, it stops short of rating higher even though I think the food is good enough to make the Top 5 Lunch List and maybe even the honorable mention of the Top 5 Overall List on its own merit. Unfortunately, it is sorely lacking in the decor and service departments, which demoted the restaurant's overall ranking.

Sadly, the server - to whom the owner is loyal - is a complete and total boob. In my 42 years of eating out, I have never encountered service so atrocious. The server, who knew NOTHING about Korean food, could not answer a single, solitary question about the menu. What makes it crazier is she has been there for months...MONTHS!!!...which makes it all the more unacceptable. Every single thing she did was wrong and did nothing but make this experience so tragic I even lost my cool and started haranguing her. Regrettably, I got so ugly with her that I was literally embarrassed by my behavior when I got home. I have never, ever in my life treated a server like I did this one, and for that I apologize. Now on to the food.
This was my first foray ever into Korean food. Had I known in advance there would not have been anyone to answer questions, I would have done more research into the cuisine, so I apologize up front if I am not fully accurate about my report. I ordered Bul Go Gi with beef and I requested the add-on lettuce wraps, sliced radish, and sauce. The second dish I ordered was Bok Um Bap. They started off by bringing a complimentary relish platter, as is standard for each table. It is an assortment of tasty spicy morsels of vegetable, and I could identify bean sprouts and something that looked and tasted like Kimchi. This is where the first breakdown occurred with my server. I asked what each item was and.....nothing in response.

I was served a plate of noodles in a brown sauce that was flavorful and packed a punch. I was also served an open-faced omelet that was the weakest entry in the bunch. I did not specifically order either item., so I do not know if they come with every dish or not. The Bok Um Bap is served with a sunny side egg which I cut into the dish. This was a really amazing offering that would order again.
The Bul Go Gi comes out sizzling and is quite the spectacle. I was very impressed with the complex flavors in the dish. However, I could not figure out the methodology for combining the lettuce wraps and radish and no one was interested in helping my dilemma. This whole scene made me think back to my first time getting sushi. The owner, who was Japanese, saw me eating it with a fork. She came over said, "no fork," and she spent time to show me how to use chopsticks properly as well as how to apply the soy and wasabi appropriately. I now fully enjoy eating sushi regularly due to her instruction and guidance, which was in short supply here. I would like to enjoy Korean food as well, but I just needed a quick guided tour that was not part of their repertoire.

Brevard County has less than 1000 native Koreans. I am not clear who Mingee's is targeting as a customer base, but if the owner wants to expand it, she needs to be willing to help people who are inexperienced with the cuisine. The food is complex in its layering and a joy to eat. However, unless you know what's up before going in, it is a struggle for the Korean cuisine novice. The owner's husband messaged me after the meal and is aware of the problems that I brought to his attention. I also for the first time ever left zero tip because of the poor service quality.

For Mingee's Korean Kitchen, Big Boy, well? Perhaps save this place for the initiated