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Noo Na report.. Vanderbuilt Korean.. prospect hts.

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Last night I got a to go order from the new Korean restaurant on Vanderbuilt called NooNA.
Here's the lowdown..

What I ordered: The first 2 dishes are ones that are I have had at MANY Korean restaurants in New York and therefore do have a decent frame of refrence. That is why I ordered them to have a comparison,, plus I like them.
Bi bim bab... well it came with the vegtables separate from the rice and while the veggies were quite good, there was alot of lettuce in there, whereas there usually are more chewy things in there. Also the Rice came in a plastic soup container and was just regualar rice. Part of the fun of this dish is that the rice is cooked in a stone bowl and is crunchy at the bottom.
That said, maybe when you eat it there it is cooked in a stone bowl.The BBQ hot sauce provided was not the best one I have ever had. However the dish was still quite good.

Jae yuk bok um
This is the traditional pork kimchee and veggie stirfry.
Again, this was good, if lacking in pork.. very low on the pork content.
It seemed to lack the depth , but at least they did the traditional thing of the raw tofu on the side to present a nice contrast to the oily stirfy.
An interesting or bizarre touch (depending on your point of view) was the inclusion of rice cakes in the dishh. all in all there was not enought Kimchee in there either. as i said however good.

Dumpling soup, this seemed to be in a white miso broth. the dumplings were very delicious, howver the meat filling came out of the noodle parts, so there were meat balls and noodles. the broth was mild and tasty. Yet again the rice cakes showed up in this dish.. never seen them in korean food. but that doesn't mean anything.

Conclusion:
Americanized de-spicified Korean food,, the pork-kimchee dish especially was not even up to the intensity is should have been. There is usually quite a kick in this dish and it was missing. the Bi bim bab.. was nice but too much lettuce and not enough of the chewy veggies usually in there.. also where was the crunchy rice..?
All in all however the food was clean and healthy tasting so I will eat there again.. like to eat in. I would like them to make the food more authentic, but for being close and even having a Korean without going to Myrtle ave, its a good Prospect Hts/Pk slope alternative. The Prices are very decent.if you stay away form the meat bbqs.

They also have tofu soup but I will only get that there to see if its prepared in the stoneware bowl of fire, which makes the dish.

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  1. Was the bibimbap served in a stone bowl? Basic bibimbap is normally served in a regular bowl with regular rice; "dolsot" (stone bowl) bibimbap is the kind with the crunchy bottom. I much prefer dolsot bibimbap, regular is what my mom makes at home and is good enough in a pinch.

    Rice cake in dumpling soup is very traditional, and one of my favorite things to make. I'm surprised that the broth had miso in it--did it taste like fermented bean paste? Sometimes the broth takes on a whitish color from the rice cake and the egg. Rice cakes in general are very common in Korean food, and very popular as kiddie-comfort food, so get thrown into dishes even when it's not traditional, whatever that means. I once had a spicy rice cake stir fry in Korea that had cheese in it--it was pretty gross to me, but my cousins liked it.

    1. Thanks for the clarification..
      the only bim bap i ever had was in the bowlll.. so i thought it was just that way..
      the soup i never had before, so it must be the egg like you say
      the soup was good as i said.. no miso i guess.
      Have you eaten at the place yet?

      1 Reply
      1. re: jason carey

        I haven't been yet, but was excited to hear it was opening. I don't eat Korean out much because it's not very hard to make for myself. I'm sorry to hear it's not quite punchy food--maybe they need some helpful education that there are people who would appreciate good Korean food in the neighborhood.

      2. Im most worried by the lack of crunchy vegetables - did your veggies include soy bean sprouts, spinach/greens, or those fern fronds? I would feel cheated if there was not a good mix of the vegetables/salad garnishes, and would particularly miss it if there was no fried egg (tho you could add that in a takeout version. But the vegetable garnishes are not cheap, and take a fair amount of preparation, which is not a big issue in a busy restaurant but might be something a low-volume place might cut corners on.

        About the presentation, it was years before I was served the bibim bap in a stone bowl in NY - it is only one presentation. Next time ask for a side of the hot bean paste - then you can spice up your dishes.

        Looking forward to checking them out

        1 Reply
        1. re: jen kalb

          hey, we recently ordered delivery from noo na. bi bim bap, kimchi pajun, fried tofu and kimchi fried rice. it was a satisfying, inexpensive meal and delivery was quite prompt.

          the bi bim bap vegetables were delicious - crunchy zucchini, nice mushrooms, bean sprouts and long skinny brown things (my friend could tell me what they were called in korean, but not english). no spinach (because of the recent spinach scandal??) and they were skimpy on the beef. the hot sauce also wasn't great. it came with a separate bowl of rice topped with fried egg. i would have appreciated more little side dishes and more SPICE. but for delivery, it was pretty good.

          oh, but the tofu was tasteless. i wouldn't order it again.

          noo na is a good addition to our neighborhood.

        2. Can a restaurant really be judged by a take out order?

          Food to go is never the same as dining in.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Fleur

            Of course you are right. But you can get a sense of the ingredients and portions, I think. And general flavors. And you can compare with other takeout. I've had bibimbap takeout from Do Hwa, for example, and it was substantially better than what I got from Noo Na.

            1. re: Fleur

              The flavors do not change that much in a stir-fry or a soup when delivered.. nor do the type or quality of ingredients.. yes they are better eaten at the restaurant, but you can still judge the food's overall quality from takeout.

            2. We ate there about a week after it opened, very pleased. It's not wildly Americanized.
              Although I did hear they ran out of kimchi one night. Always bumps to be ironed out....

              the soon du bu (spicy soft tofu/seafood stew) was deeeeelicious
              not *sublime* like the one I had in Qns, but really good, and I can't walk home from Qns

              my companion was happy with her dol sot bi bim bab (avail with spicy squid, yum)
              although it didn't have an egg on it, so we were confused.
              a vegetarian bi bim bab (the cold kind) ordered next to us *did* have an egg

              and the banchan were nice...little dried fishes, seaweed salad, and, er, I forget
              And kimchi. They treat it as an app, and don't replenish during the meal unless you ask
              The seafood pajun (they also have a kimchi one) was nice enough, and weirdly on a sizzling stone.

              Service was pleasant and friendly, easy-going room - great addition for PH/PS/FG

              did they get their liquor license yet?
              speaking of, they were very good about keeping our deli-purchased beer cold for us
              yeah NooNa!

              1. These reports are pretty surprising.

                I went there for my second time last night was was very disappointed.

                Ordered the octopus w vegetables stir fry ( I think its called nakji bo kum?) and the tofu stuffed with mushrooms.

                The tofu with mushrooms came out as just 3 pieces of tofu - no mushrooms. When I asked the server about this, he took the dish back to the kitchen to inquire. He came back out with this response; "well, its a new item on the menu..." and shrugged his shoulders. Didnt offer to replace, remake or remove the item from the bill. (Isnt this common sense?? since I wasn't served what I orderred??) So I asked him to replace it with the seaweed salad- which was pretty standard but fine.

                Next was the entree, the octopus with veggies.
                It was about, and I am not exaggerating, 70% white onions.
                It had 4 slivers of red bell pepper ,a few scallions and about 7 tiny (<1") piece of the toughest, most overcooked octopus I have had in my life. I couldnt bite through it. The dish lacked any flavor and had absolutetly no spice.

                I am not a Korean food maniac but I have eaten at quite a few spots in Manhat, Queens, LA Ktown and this was the worst that I had been to.

                It would take a lot for me to give it another shot. And BTW, my previous/first meal there was Bi bim Bop which was better - but still sub-par (bland and skimpy on the ingredients).