New York City has been plagued by rat infestations in recent years — to the point that city officials announced a few months ago that they were looking to hire a “rat czar” to stem the problem.
But has a rat really found its place in the soup of a popular restaurant?
That’s the accusation made by a customer at Gammeeok, a foodie destination in the heart of Manhattan’s Koreatown. Eunice Lucero-Lee posted photos and a video on Instagram of what she claimed was soup she and her husband had ordered, via delivery, from the restaurant with a dead rat floating in it. “[We] found the most disgusting thing in our food,” Lee said in his post.
But the story does not end there. Lucero-Lee said on Instagram that the couple filed a lawsuit against the restaurant and reported the situation to the New York Department of Health. MarketWatch could not reach Lucero-Lee for comment.
The health department closed the restaurant on March 15. In a statement to MarketWatch, the department said, “No restaurant in New York City is permitted to have mice or rats on the menu and we are investigating further. Our top priority is to protect the health of New Yorkers and if a restaurant exhibits conditions that threaten diners in our city, it will be closed. »
The department’s closure notice, which is posted online, noted that there was “evidence of rats or live rats in food or non-food areas of the facility.” The notice also cited other issues, ranging from food not kept at the correct temperature to food from an “unapproved or unknown source, canned or prepared at home”.
On his Instagram page, Gammeeok said, “We checked the whole process of making the soup, but we couldn’t find any issues.” The restaurant also said it tried to work out a solution with Lucero-Lee and her husband, including refunding the order and offering a $100 gift card.
MarketWatch reached out to Gammeeok via Instagram for additional comment on the situation and the shutdown, but did not receive an immediate response.
Lucero-Lee and her husband have been frequenting the restaurant for a decade, she added in her Instagram post, “and are otherwise proud supporters of Asian cuisine and culture.”
“This incident should in no way be used to fuel race-based hatred or prejudice and I will have a problem with anyone who uses these posts to match this narrative,” she wrote.