Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Seoul Restaurant

9549 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 751-6070

I do not wish to reveal my age, but I can say that I can remember passing by Seoul Restaurant on Dyer Street since the time I lived nearby in the 1980's (and occasionally stopping to eat). Although El Paso is a city that tends not to embrace change very much, a lot can be said for a restaurant that has remained in business and kept a loyal following for so many years. Some of the Chinese restaurants that have been around for this many years may not be the ones I would want to visit today (typically ones that specialize in chow mein and sweet and sour chicken with sauce that tastes like syrup). The Korean restaurants on Dyer Street, though, have been popular because they introduced El Paso to more authentic Asian cuisine than could be found in the other available choices.

I have had some difficult experiences at Seoul Restaurant, though, that kept me away for extended periods of time after trying it on several occasions. These experiences were mainly related to the amount of MSG (monosodium glutamate) the restaurant has sometimes used in its food. I can usually ask for MSG to be omitted from my orders, but my body's reaction to the food at Seoul indicated that they could not prepare dishes with a sufficiently small amount to be non-allergenic.

Recently I have found that I can eat at Seoul without having a MSG reaction, but I do not know if it is because of changes at the restaurant or whether I have just discovered better things to order. In any case, I think if you tell the restaurant about any food allergies they will do their best to accommodate your wishes.

Previously when I did not eat meat, though, the lack of vegetarian dishes at Seoul was another disappointment. One item I tried was a Beef and Tofu Soup, but ordered without the beef. It was very spicy, had a good broth, and was rich in flavor. Even without meat, though, the restaurant did not add enough vegetables to make this a substantial meal, and the price charged was the same as if it contained beef. Korean restaurants in general are not known for preparing vegetarian dishes, and while I was disappointed they could not make a vegetarian dish the way I wanted, I was not terribly surprised.

The Bibim Naeng Myun was a cold noodle dish that had a good sauce, but was not something I would make a special effort to order again.

Yook Gae Jong
Yook gae jong with vegetable side dishes

Yook Gae Jong was a beef noodle soup with a spicy broth that I thought had a good flavor and was representative of the better quality Korean food I have tasted. This dish did not leave me with any MSG after-effects, so I now know there is at least one thing that is safe to order (although I suspect there are a lot more). At least it was good enough that I can recommend that others give Seoul Restaurant a try.

Anything that is ordered at Seoul will have the added enhancement of the Korean vegetable side dishes that are served. The ones here were not quite as "hard core" as have been served at some of the city's other Korean restaurants (some others have served small bowls of fish with the heads attached), but this may be a good thing. The variety and quality of the side dishes at Seoul were certainly as good as I have had anywhere. The possible exception is that I did not like the Kimchee at Seoul as much as the ones I have tried at other restaurants.

The Korean Iced Tea at Seoul was as good as I have had anywhere, and in fact some of the other restaurants that used to serve it are no longer doing so. Korean food is so spicy I think it should be a requirement that restaurants serve this tea (Seoul gives it to customers at no cost).

The main attraction of Seoul Restaurant seems to be for large groups of people who wish to eat "family style" around one of the restaurant's large tables. I know that not everyone has the same problems with MSG that I do, and such people can certainly find some good food at good prices that can be shared with a group. Even those who are concerned about the MSG can probably find enough different items to share. I would advise, though, that groups going to a Korean restaurant should expect most items to contain meat.

The menu is so large that I think it will take some experimentation to find the best dishes. The best items I have tried, though, have been the spicy ones.



Cuisine: Korean
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Tea: Korean
MSG: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
May 17, 2008

Number of Visits: 4

Best Items
Yook Gae Jong, Vegetable Side Dishes, Korean Iced Tea

Special Ratings
Yook Gae Jong:
Bibim Naeng Myun:
Korean Iced Tea: