Shilla Review: Soon du bu lunch special at Shilla

Shilla Review: Soon du bu lunch special at Shilla

Sometimes you don’t know you have a good thing until it’s gone. A few months ago, Shilla ran some ridiculous $4.99 lunch specials and I never bothered to go. Who knew it was only for a month?! I didn’t! The update on Midtown Lunch kind of crushed my spirits. But Shilla restaurant ran another lunch special. This time it was $5.99 which is not as good but still insanely good. Here I’m going to reveal a little bit of my neurosis. It’s actually a bit crushing and debilitating to tell you the truth, but sometimes I push through it. After seeing the $5.99 price, I walked past Shilla’s to look for something else, something that looked as interesting. After seeing no better option, I walked back in the direction of Shilla’s. Paused at the window. Stared at the price. Then I walked on again… all because of.. ONE DOLLAR! (What is wrong with me?!)

But after purusing the other end of 32nd street and realizing it was mostly hotels, I reversed directions once more. This time I stopped in front of Shilla’s window again. The hostess inside probably thought I was some well-dressed hobo, just stalking their restaurant. It’s hard to blame them. It’s not like the deal has any descriptions other than ‘Thursday’ and ‘soon du bu’. Ah whatever, I was hungry and my lunch hour was disappearing.

The great thing about the soon du bu meal at Shilla’s is that they give you a nice variety of banchan. They gave me five different things. I suppose that’s what you would get if you sat down and ate it, but I didn’t expect it to be included in the takeout meal. They actually tack on a $1 charge if you do the lunch special take-out as opposed to eat-in. That seems worth it though.

They also give you a gigantic tub of tofu in spicy soup. In addition to the overwhelming portion, the soon du bu was also nice and spicy. It probably doesn’t help to eat this in 85 degree heat and humidity. It’s been one of the rainiest July’s of all time here in New York, and it’s been muggy almost everyday. There’s nothing like getting a good sweat out for lunch though, and then going back to the office like it rained and you forgot an umbrella.

It’s weird that I would pause to go in for the lunch specials for so long, and then relent to paying the $1 surcharge for take-out. In my defense, I remember the $4.99 lunch specials being a choice of different dishes. While the most recent July specials was one particular dish per day, and soon du bu was only on Thursday. For some reason in my head, that registered as a worse deal. It’s funny that it gave me pause because even at $7.xx after tax, it was a great lunch deal. I ate the leftover banchan for lunch the next day. And when it was $4.99, I passed by it more than a handful of times and just said, “Oh next time… (and, wtf is that korean on the window?! I can’t read that, but it says $4.99 so I have to try it next time…)” So even though Shilla offered only limited options (a single daily special), it actually brought me into the restaurant. Maybe the key isn’t to offer a bunch of lunch specials, it’s just to offer one at a time. When you don’t have choices, it reduces the energy required to filter out the choices. This works great for lunch specials, not so great for health care…

Shilla37 W 32nd St.New York, NY 10001212-967-1880

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