After a wonderful experience at Hair Bank in Koreatown, I decided to give their uptown location a trial for the purpose of conserving time. A one-way trip to Christie station estimates a whopping 1 hour and 40 minutes on local transit, where as the drive is a mere thirty minutes in standard - er, good - traffic. Moreover, given that their coordinates are slightly north of Finch, complimentary parking was able to found along a small, sloped strip immediately outside of the establishment.
I was greeted by several members of staff in Korean upon entry, but the atmosphere turned slightly chilly when my response came in English as opposed to the familiar language they were accustomed to. The crew consisted of three middle-aged women, all clad in fitted black attire (party clothes? clubbing clothes???) and sporting bleached strands, and an ahjusshi with a suspiciously floaty bob normally deemed too flamboyant for those of the same age.
I did not have a designated stylist, thus was adopted by the middle-aged man. A quick visit to the narrow sliver of a bathroom/supply area hybrid was made first. The door did not close properly, nor were hooks present. Cleanliness levels were on the low end of the spectrum, though, let's be honest, there isn't a single establishment that beats SORA's scary lavatories.
As soon as my exit was made, the ahjusshi swooped up my belongings and gestured to a cubby. The concept was identical to that of Hair Bank's midtown spot, though the difference lay in that I wasn't given a chance to personally handle my jacket and bag.
I must admit: I can't recall receiving more brusque treatment of my hair than this instant. The first step was carried about rather delicately: a veil-like piece of fabric was placed across my eyes. The actions that followed, however, were another story. My hair was tugged, scrunched, pulled, and yanked with force as one round each of shampooing and conditioner took place. Water was flicked everywhere. Checks for water temperature were not uttered either; it was my responsibility to notify the man of discomfort when hot water was sprayed onto my scalp. Possibly the most stunning of all was when the hands of the hairwasher did not originate from 180 degrees behind me, but rather from my left side in such a manner that I could not escape his occassional blows of bad breath.
Hair Bank's uptown location utilized the same cutting gown as their midtown venture - the one that featured a pocket for hands and/or handheld devices. A password-secured Wi-Fi network was also provided for guests. In spite of this, I was prompted to put down my phone on several occassions, and eventually stopped scrolling through feeds altogether. The hasty chops of damp hair and swift, blunt snips of my bangs had me feeling excessively worried. At one point in time, a crudely-positioned hair clip was jolted out of place. Having landed on the floor, where the remnants of other customers' tresses resided, I had hoped for a new one to be utilized. It wasn't. I was stuck with the same, now-contaminated clip.
At thirty dollars, the cut was extremely economic. I also appreciated the small asphalt lot. These factors aside, I couldn't quite shake the queasy feelings I experienced while sitting in fear for my hair.
Looks like I'll be reverting back to Koreatown - and the insanely tedious commute - yet again.
Three bowls were ordered to go: Unagi, Spicy Salmon, and Poke Bowl.
The shop was empty at my time of entry, but the takeout request still required an average preparation time of ten minutes.
Unagi Bowl was the priciest of the trio, ringing in at $14.95. Ironically, it was also the bowl containing the smallest portion. The marinated eel was dry and shriveled, completely dissimilar to the display image, and the only other constituents were yellow ginger and several cucumber slices.
Sushi rice made up the base of the former; a decent amount of marinated, torched salmon chunks, wakame salad, yellow ginger, and sprinkle of sesame seeds topped it off. Undoubtedly the better of the trio, the flavours of the spicy salmon were satisfying without being overly fiery. A small portion of greens would have been appreciated though.
The final stop of the day was One Zo Tapioca. As suspected, I've already admitted to being an addict.
On the other hand, Nature Melon Tea was a stellar pick. The first few sips were fruity and refreshing, while a slightly roasted flavour would linger after the chewy tapioca disappeared.
Taro NiuNiu was another good selection, though a tad synthetic in taste. The partial immersion of slush and fresh milk was unexpected yet enjoyable.