Babbo and Dok Suni's
It's rare that I get a chance to write, and I have been
meaning to post a review of Babbo for a couple weeks,
only THEN I had a truly incredible meal at Dok Suni's,
so here goes a bit on both:
Babbo: the trick (easily done) is to go early. My
partner and I went at 5:45 (the only other reservation
was 10:30) and sat upstairs under a beautiful skylight.
Our waitperson was incredibly friendly, much to my
surprise, and we were one of only four tables filled
when we arrived. We ordered the tasting menu, and one
by one came about seven courses, including two
desserts. There was a perfect amount of time between
each course, and throughout the meal, the service was
attentive but unobtrusive. Every course was delicious -
not a disappointment in the bunch, though there were a
few dishes where I wouldn't have wanted more than the
amuse-bouche portion given. The highlight was a whole
quail in some lovely, sweet reduction sauce with oyster
mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Every bite was tender
and so interestingly flavorful I almost swept the plate
clean with the miniature drumsticks. Dessert, too, was
a blend of flavors I would never have thought to put
together, but that were so lovely on the palate I just
kept eating, long after I'd reached full. By the time
we were ready to leave, the restaurant was just
becoming a little too loud and crowded - we were both
glad to be on our way out. All this is to say, I would
highly recommend the restaurant, and it appears that
going early and sitting upstairs circumvent a lot of
the problems people have experienced.
Dok Suni's: Korean food in the East Village (1st Ave.
between 7th and 8th) - a bit on the trendy side, but I
have been there at least 6 times in the last 2 years
and have not had a bad meal (or even a mediocre one).
Squid dishes are spectacular - the perfect amount of
spiciness with other flavors equally strong. Pork ribs
fall off the bone in one savory slide, and the bibimbap
is korean comfort food. Whenever I have a craving for
these types of dishes, I make a beeline for this
restaurant. One downer: smoking is permitted, and it is
a small restaurant.
Hope this is helpful info - it's the least I can do to
share the wealth.
I live right around the corner from Dok Suni's. I agree
about their squid dishes - those are almost always what
I order, either the hot and spicy broiled squid or the
squid moo chim. Those dishes are spicy and tasty the
way I like them, and they come with a nice bunch of
side dishes: kimchi, hot peppery zucchini, black
beans, and dry seaweed. Some of the other dishes are
less spicy and tasty, and I would rate them merely good
rather than very good. Dok Suni's also has unusually
interesting decor, but my problem with it is that it's
a small restaurant not covered by the no-smoking law
and, as a result, it's often quite smokey. My solution
is to order dishes for takeout but, to be honest, I do
that somewhat infrequently, because it costs at least
something around $15, and I can't do that every day.
As a reviewer for Zagat's, I believe I gave Dok Suni's
2 stars (equivalent to "very good").