Sang Yoon Counters ‘Carrot Cake-Gate’ With Red Monkeys From A Box of Cracker Jacks

Lukshon Photo: Lukshon

Here we thought Sang Yoon’s problems with customers started and ended with ketchup at Father’s Office. Nope, not so! Today we see the successful chef choosing to defend Lukshon against a whiny Yelper who is griping about, of all things, the free shit being served for dessert at Yoon’s Culver City restaurant. Yesterday, one Yelp user known as Sarah Beth, prone to giving four and five-star reviews to the places she eats at, filed a dismal one-star review of Lukshon, with the typically trite, Yelp-y complaint that she’d been given a free piece of carrot cake to end her meal one week (an experience detailed on Chowhound), but upon returning the next, was denied even the chance to purchase a slice of the same carrot cake. Seeing the cake served to others, Ms. Beth took the news awfully hard and detailed the incident as “a slap in the face.” In other words, carrot cake is the new ketchup. So, what did Yoon do?

Seeing as this is Yelp and all, the chef could have just chuckled and forgotten about it. But after she emailed the management, Beth received a response directly from Yoon, Lukshon’s chef and owner. Beth posted it to Chowhound, which was later wiped clean from the Hound’s slate. But fortunately, she posted the whole drama back into Yelp.

Now, we can’t make a burger like Yoon, nor can we offer a defense for Carrot Cake-Gate better than he can do it himself. In a response posted to her Yelp review, Yoon offers Sarah the following explanation for the cruel and unusual punishment she experienced:

Dear S_,

I am the chef and owner of Lukshon and Father’s Office. I was forwarded your letter and have decided to answer you directly. First of all, I’m glad to hear you decided to try my newest restaurant and I’m happy you enjoyed it immensely.

With regards to the dessert… I totally understand your position of simply wanting another delicious piece of ginger carrot cake. Not a big deal, right? Here’s how it really works. At Lukshon we provide a complimentary small dessert to each dinner guest. Totally free of charge. We do not offer a dessert menu or choice of dessert. Our desserts also change every single week. Each night we have 3 different desserts. When it’s time to serve dessert, the kitchen is signaled and a random selection is made by the kitchen. It’s sort of like a roulette wheel. Sometimes, the number you want comes up, sometimes, it doesn’t. If there are two diners at a table, they will receive 2 of the 3 available desserts. On your first visit you got a different dessert than your second visit. If you ever return, you would get totally different desserts again. That’s the easy part to explain and I hope you understand how it works.

Your accusations on the other hand are totally overreaching. Your commentary reminds me of a moment in my childhood when I eagerly opened my first ever box of Cracker Jacks. As you may know, every box of Cracker Jacks comes with a free little toy inside. My first toy was a small red monkey with a curly tail so it could hang from various objects. I loved that monkey and wanted it to have a friend so I asked my Mom for more Cracker Jacks.

I must have gone through 3 dozen boxes and all I got was cowboys, horses and temporary tattoos but no red monkey. I complained to my Mom and asked why I couldn’t find another monkey and she explained that they were put in there at random and since they just throw it in for free, I can’t choose nor could she write the the Cracker Jack company asking to purchase another red monkey. So my monkey remained an only child until one day I found an even better toy one day that made me forget all about my beloved red monkey. Maybe you weren’t in to Cracker Jacks as much as I was.

I can guarantee you there is no desire on the part of us collectively or any of my staff to collude to deny any guest of any enjoyment. The servers and food runners do not chose which dessert will go to any given table. They are also not permitted to make such requests. So although you thought there was something sinister at work, there simply isn’t. You were simply the victim of random chance rather than a complex evil plot to deny you carrot cake. I’m sorry you felt that way. I know you wanted to buy a huge piece of cake and we were not able to provide it. We don’t sell dessert, we only give them away and thus we don’t offer choices.

I hope you can remember that these complimentary desserts are just a small gesture of good will. We take an immense amount of pride in this day and age we give away not only the cleanest flat and sparkling water but also a beautiful house-made dessert all on top of terrific food in a beautiful setting at beyond fair prices. I think this is a simple case of misperception of what exactly a complimentary dessert really is.

As a former food server I would hope that you would be able to better distinguish between a restaurant policy and actual bad service. But instead you chose to punish your servers for our policy because you thought they were denying you cake.
Is that fair of you?

If you enjoy a restaurant on many levels and choose not to go back because you missed out one time on literally one bite of free carrot cake, perhaps my mom could explain the concept to you too. By the way, I stilllove and buy Cracker Jacks despite their clearly thoughtless and outroutright poy to upset and deny an innocent child his favorite monkey.


1. Expressing a compliment; praising or approving.
2. Given or supplied free of charge.

Sang Yoon

Point made? You decide! Please let us know who you think is right or wrong in this case in our comments.

Sang Yoon Counters ‘Carrot Cake-Gate’ With Red Monkeys From A Box of Cracker