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korean bbq... confused

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I've been reading old posts about korean bbq places in the 30s...trying to figure out where to go tomorrow night with a couple of friends who want to try things out. There definitely doesn't seem to be consensus here about the best places in k-town. We're somewhat uninitiated, but we know for sure that we want to cook our own food. Authentic is, of course, a bonus. Delicious is non-negotiable. Can someone direct us? Thanks very much!

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  1. I'm not positive with the name, but I believe its Kum Gan San? its right next to the hotel on 32nd street and has a grand piano with a waterfall.(You can't miss it!) The bbq there is pretty good.

    1. Kang Suh, on the corner of 32nd St. & B'way (entrance on 32nd), does an excellent bbq. You can definitely cook it yourself there.

      1. This may be sacrilegious to Koreans (a group to which I cannot claim to belong), but I'm a big fan of Gyu-Kaku in Cooper Square (1 minute walk from Astor Place). It's a Japanese restaurant serving Korean-style BBQ (grill it yourself, etc.) Everything there is absolutely delicious, the space is nice and festive, and the staff is attentive and friendly. It's also very reasonably priced considering the quality--I usually go with groups and order absolutely unhealthy amounts of meat and pitchers of beer, and escape with no more than $30 worth of damage after tax and tip.

        I recommend the harami miso (skirt steak), the gyu-tan (beef tongue, which is surprisingly delicious) and the seared tuna. Oh, and the tofu chigae (a spicy and hearty Korean tofu soup reminiscent of Chinese "mah poh tofu").

        I really can't recommend Gyu-Kaku highly enough ... just make sure you make reservations if it's on a busy night. You won't have trouble if you're going tomorrow night, though.

        1. I too enjoy Japanese Korean BBQ but if you want to try the real thing definitely go to Kang Suh on 32nd street. For BBQ, they are the best in Manhattan.

          And the reason that there doesn't appear to be a consensus about best of K-town is that each place has their own specialty that you go there specifically for. So while I love KunJip, I rarely go there for BBQ and I would never got to KangSuh for Kimchi Jigae (hot kimchi stew).

          1. kang suh thirded. in addition to the bbq, the monkfish and octopus in spicy red sauce is delicious.

            1. It's Kum Gang San on 49th St between Broadway and 5th. They have a huge selection and very fresh food.

              3 Replies
              1. re: liverfail

                49th? Is there another branch? The location I know is on 32nd.

                1. re: liverfail

                  There's no such thing as "bewteen B'way and 5th" on 49th. You must mean a different street.

                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                    "There's no such thing as "bewteen B'way and 5th" on 49th."

                    Well, there is, but it's several blocks long. :-)

                2. too late now, but fwiw, i find that there's a remarkable difference in taste between BBQ places that use real coals at the table rather than the standard gas grill. kang suh used to do this but they don't anymore (at least last time i checked, a few months ago). anyone know if there are any others in manhattan k-town that still do? im guessing flushing is probably a better bet.

                  1. I was at Kom Tang Soot Bul (I think it is called) 32 W. 32nd last night and they definately had real coals for the BBQ. Everything was quite good but they sort of skimped on the panchan.

                    1. In k-town ive never really noticed much differences in the food served but, make sure you go to one that has wood charcoal instead of the gas grills. Otherwise it isnt bbq.

                      Also, you should know that it is normal to have unlimited side dishs but, seems in k-town they get a little wierd about it.

                      1. if you want real coals (not gas grill) go to Won Jo. on 32nd btw 5th and broadway / 6th. their choo mooluk kalbi (second on the bbq menu, i think) and pork belly (thick cut bacon!) are amazing. so is their seafood scallion pancake.

                        for really good bbq (but gas grill) and food, i would suggest woo chon on 35th street btw 5th and 6th. they're one of the oldest korean restaurants in NY. i remember going there when i was child. their bbq is excellent and the rest of their food is great too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jungirl

                          Woo Chon is on 36th near 5th, not 35th.