And if it allows us the occasional anonymous, surreptitious grope of the opposite sex, that's not so wrong, is it?
Whether you're a chickie on the prowl or a hunk on the hunt, after 10 p.m., the Zen Bar turns into a pickup spot legendary for the hookup luck it bestows upon sushi noshers of all stripes. Alicia Silverstone-like lovelies feed each other Tootsie rolls (with eel, shrimp and snow crab), while Brad Pitt-like studlies chew their edamame (i.e., soy nuts, bee-ahtch) and hope that girl on her fifth sake bomb needs a ride home.
You can grill these on the gas ranges set into your table, or have the kitchen do it for you. In either case, you get a huge array of panchan, the pickled and marinated veggies, seafood items, etc., that are like the Korean equivalent to Spanish tapas.
It doesn't take much to over-order. But when you inevitably do so, you're the beneficiary of a veritable Korean cornucopia of eats, remedied only by prolonged gorging and the help of more than one take-home box.
Thus, a visit to Seoul Jung makes gluttony fun.
If you're looking for absorbency to sponge that last quart of Budweiser, Harlow's fluffy homemade biscuits are a must. If sugar's needed to ease your pounding head, hit the Belgian waffles with strawberries and a scoop of ice cream.
When more drastic fat and grease infusions are called for, head straight for the signature Eggs Maximillian with chorizo -- a tortilla covered with a layer of crispy hash browns, eggs cooked the way you like 'em, slathered with Harlow's awesome chorizo and a scoop of sour cream. After you eat, head straight home and mix up a Bloody Mary before taking your well-deserved nap -- hair of the dog is the only thing lacking from Harlow's menu. Readers' Choice: Denny's
And then we immediately made a spectacle of ourselves, ordering herbal berry tea and spilling it all over the lovely linens. Our Brits assured us that English Breakfast is the only way to go (which confused us, since it was closer to dinner time) and we got a long lecture about how the tea has to be warmed just so, and you must use whole milk, not cream.
We made a mess, but the Phoenician held up nicely, with a three-course presentation fit for a king. (Or, in this case, three wanna-be queens.) First came finger sandwiches. We preferred the lightly spiced curry egg salad with watercress and daikon sprouts and the poached chicken salad with lemon and thyme on pumpernickel. But the classic cucumber sandwiches weren't bad, either.
Next arrived buttermilk and cranberry scones. Our friends told us that scone should be pronounced "skawn" (rhymes with pawn) and although they scoffed at the notion of dried cranberries, both scarfed their scones, dabbing them with lemon curd, fresh strawberry preserves and Devonshire cream, so rich we could all feel our arteries clogging.
And then, the pastries. The selection was broad, and our lovely waiter would have happily put one of each on our plate. We managed to down a chocolate-covered strawberry and something called a fruit tartlet.
By the time we stumbled out of the Phoenician, brimming with tea and stuffed with enough carbs to fuel a kindergarten class, we understood the meaning of high tea -- it was definitely the high point of the day. And our lady friends agreed.