At this restaurant, several dishes feature live octopus, bulbous creatures that you drop into the hot pot, where they die a slow, heat-induced death. One hot pot, the san-nakji-chulpan, adds a recently decapitated live lobster to the mix, creating a spectacle of frenetic movement, a sacrificial show before dinner. And if you're not careful, you'll be making the sacrifice.
If you eat the octopi too soon, you'll experience a slight sucking on your tongue. Dig into the lobster too fast, and you may very well have your finger snapped. Watch the pot too long, and you may find your stomach knotted in despair.
Once my stomach unclenched, though, I found that the octopus was some of the freshest, most succulent seafood I'd ever put in my mouth -- and definitely the best thing in a massive bowl of prawns, crab and tiny squid tentacles. The lobster was a different story: Using just chopsticks as tools, it was tough to tackle the crustacean.
But then, at Sik Gaek, dinner is about the entire experience, not just the food. I'm just glad my dining mate, Kristina Woo, caught it on video.
For my review of Seoul BBQ, check back here later today.