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 curb the problem.
But did a rat actually find its way into a popular restaurant’s soup?
That’s the charge being made by a patron of Gammeeok, a dining destination in the heart of Manhattan’s Koreatown. Eunice Lucero-Lee posted photos and a video on Instagram of what she claimed was a soup she and her husband 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 her post.
But the story doesn’t end there. Lucero-Lee said on Instagram that the couple has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant and reported the situation to New York City’s health department. MarketWatch was unable to reach Lucero-Lee for comment.
The health department shut down the restaurant on March 15. In a statement to MarketWatch, the department said, “No New York City restaurant is authorized to have mice or rats on the menu and we are investigating further. Our top priority is protecting the health of New Yorkers and if a restaurant has conditions that threaten our city’s diners, they will be shut down.”
The department’s closure notice, which is posted online, did note that there was “evidence of rats or live rats in establishment’s food or non-food areas.” The notice also cited other issues, from food not being kept at the right temperature to food being used from an “unapproved or unknown source, home canned or home prepared.”
On its Instagram page, Gammeeok said, “We checked the whole process of making the soup, but we couldn’t find any problems.” The restaurant also indicated it had tried to seek a resolution with Lucero-Lee and her husband, including providing a refund for the order and a $100 gift card.
MarketWatch reached out to Gammeeok via Instagram for additional comment about the situation and the shutdown but didn’t receive an immediate response.
Lucero-Lee and her husband have patronized the restaurant for a decade, she added in her Instagram post, “and are otherwise proud supporters of Asian cuisine and culture.”
“This incident is in no way to be used to fuel race-based hate or prejudice and I will have an issue with anyone who uses these posts to fit that narrative,” she wrote.