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Note #104: 9 Ounce Burger (2016.7.21)

So, in part two of our adventures in Nakseongdae area restaurants, yesterday Kevin, HJ, and I went to 9 Ounce Burger (officially “9ounce Burger”), located a little west of the station, near the street that runs up to the rear gate of Seoul National University (and passes our apartment on the way). It’s a bit tricky to explain the location, so I’ll just direct you to the restaurant’s Facebook page, where you can find a map. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I don’t have any photographs to go along with my write-up, but you can check out Kevin’s review for some pics.

Burgers are probably a little more universal than kimchi jjigae, and they certainly don’t need nearly as much explanation. So I can cut straight to the chase and tell you that the burgers at 9 Ounce are good. They are juicy, flavorful, cooked properly, and topped with some interesting combinations of cheese, vegetables, and other meats (like bacon). All of the burgers are 140 grams, with the exception of the eponymous 9 Ounce, which is 240 grams. (This is actually slightly less than 9 ounces—more like eight-and-a-half ounces, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.)

HJ went with her standard, the California, which is topped with Monterey Jack, avocado relish, avocado slices, tomato, and watercress. I’ve had this as well, and I can confirm that it is quite a tasty combination. But I went with what has become my standard, the Tongue Tied: bacon, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce, dill pickles, and pickle remoulade. Kevin went with the 9 Ounce, which is topped with American cheese and caramelized onions. The thing is, Kevin doesn’t like onions. (I believe this is pretty much common knowledge, so I think it’s OK to tell you that Kevin was kidnapped by onions as a child, and ever since then he has never been able to even look an onion in the eye let alone eat one.) In an effort to relieve some of the trauma, I agreed to eat the caramelized onions and added them to the top of my already stacked burger. Yes, it made it even better.

Of the other burgers on the menu, I have also had the Rucola, the Four Seasons, and the Chili Burger. The Rucola has Gruyere, caramelized onion, tomato, bacon, and (of course) rucola (aka rocket, aka arugula). I was actually wavering between this and the Tongue Tied, as the Rucola is very good as well. The Four Seasons is so named because it has four types of cheese: Swiss, American, Grana Padano, and fresh mozzarella. In addition to the cheeses it also has onion, tomato, and rucola. This is also a good burger, but the cheeses are laid on in thick slices and thus don’t melt all the way through. With the onion and tomato, the burger ends up being very tall, and it is very difficult to pick up and eat—fork and knife are generally required. As far as I’m concerned, a real burger should be eaten by hand. The last one, the Chili Burger, is a meat patty topped with American cheese and a very spicy chili. I’ve had this a couple of times and, while it’s good if you like chili burgers, I honestly think the other combinations of meat and various vegetables are better. I have not tried the Grilled Onion Cheeseburger, the Napoli Burger, or the Taco Burger (or the 9 Ounce, for that matter). Actually, come to think of it, if you’ve taken a look at the menu in Kevin’s review, you’ll see that these days I pretty much order exclusively from the left side of the menu. I’ll have to try venturing over to the right side sometime.

9 Ounce touts itself as a “burger & fries” place. Kevin discusses this phrasing in his review, citing it as a bit odd, but it has occurred to me that, in addition to being justified by the name of the place, it is also a description of the meal—you get a burger and some fries. The fries are of the thick-cut wedge variety, and you don’t get too many of them with the burger (maybe 6-8), but considering the fact that they sell fries separately as sides, I think it’s nice that they throw a few in with the burger gratis. As befitting a good burger place, they also have milkshakes, which are tasty... and incredibly filling, which is why we got one once and never again. I usually get a beer when I go, but I think in the future I am going to stop doing that as well—the beer tends to fill me up, and I actually left some of my beer from last night because I was too full.

So that’s a little introduction to 9 Ounce. It is one of our favorite places to go for dinner in our neighborhood, and we’re both kind of proud that we actually have a good burger place nearby. And we are of course not the only people to have noticed—the place is generally busy, and you should expect to wait around meal times, especially if you have more than two people in your party. We ended up waiting about ten minutes, I think; they have seats outside for that purpose.

I think I’ll wrap things up with that. Somehow this doesn’t feel like a proper review without pics of my own, so I will have to remedy this at some point in the future and post a follow-up. But I did want to get this out there to brag a bit more on my neighborhood. If kimchi jjigae is not your thing and burgers are more your style, 9 Ounce is a good bet.

Send me your thoughts.

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