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Dec 5, 2006 03:32 AM

Smallish Gahm Mi Oak report - with photos

Tonight I ate at a K-town restaurant called Gahm Mi Oak (43 W32nd St). I was excited to be with someone adventurous enough to break free from the prerequisite barbecue/bibimbop options.

Little Flickr set:

There were just two of us so we didn't manage to get through much of the menu, but what we had was very good.

The restaurant has a healthy, vibrant bustle to it and the most wonderful smell when you first walk in. It's basically a long corridor, which means constant, heavy traffic, but then Gahm Mi Oak is not really marketing itself as a date spot.

Before ordering we were given cups of really good roasted rice tea. I imagine that kimchi comes with everything. Within seconds of ordering, a large bowl of kimchi with a pair of scissors sticking out of it was plonked onto our table. A waiter came over and cut it into manageable chunks, and removed the scissors. It was unusually delicious kimchi, with large pieces of daikon in addition to the usual cabbage.

Helpfully, the menu is beautifully illustrated with photos, or I would have had no idea what I was getting myself into. Looking around and seeing who looked happiest with what was also helpful. We settled on a large plate of boiled squid with its various accompaniments (cucumber, carrots, daikon strings & garlic, all of it raw) and a bowl per person of the milky oxbone soup that comes with both rice and noodles soaking in it as well as paper thin slices of boiled beef.

The interesting thing is that everything comes to the table completely unseasoned. The kitchen adds absolutely no salt or pepper to the soup - those condiments are available on the table (with a teaspoon for the salt!), along with a huge bowl of chopped scallions for liberal sprinkling. The squid, too, is totally untouched - you're supposed to dip it in one of two spicy fermented soybean sauces.

The dishes are very big so I would recommend you go in a larger group so that you can try more things. While what we had was very good, we were kind of overwhelmed by the size of the dishes, and our palates were kind of bored by the end.

But everything tasted clean, fresh and honest. I was very happy with my meal and would definitely go back.

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  1. I stumbled into Gam Mee Oak after the marathon. Wait, that sounds like I ran it, but i was just cheering section. Anyway, point is, I was with a runner who was hoping for tofu and I'd couldn't seem to find Cho Dang Gol for him. We settled in and I was a bit concerned, for his sake, about the lack of the usual dishes in a bbq/bibimbop place, but he was a good sport. I've never had kimchee cut up in front of me before, so this was interesting and the kimchee was terrific, though much less spicy than all others i've had. We ordered the squid, which was astonishing in its plainness. As a serious squid fan, I enjoyed the novelty of its simplicity and really loved the sauces. We also had one of the pancakes which we all thought was entirely too addictively yummy for the amount of oiliness! We also had the bibimbop, as he wanted something with rice. I'm glad we tried it, we all were, but it was not really the best way to introduce someone to Korean food. Still, I enjoyed it and was glad that we'd ended up there and not some smoky bbq joint.

    1. too bad he didn't get the sullongtang (oxtail soup) which would've been terrific post-marathon.

      1. You guys should try 'soon dae' which is Korean blood sausage.
        Also the 'bo ssam' which is excellent.

        1. Nice to hear that Gam Mee Ok is still good as I haven't been there for a few years now. It's definitely the place to order sul long tang, pajun and fresh kimchi - not the typical korean bbq place. Might be the only place serving freshly made kimchi actually and I actually prefer it to the regular kimchi.For bbq, I usually go to Kun Jip, Dae Dong for kalbi and bulgogi and the place across it with a red awning specifically for their unmarinated bacon like pork bbq...yummy!

          1. A quick update on this place…
            I went to Gahm Mi Oak last night and had a wonderful meal for two, with Plenty to eat and a big beer, for $42 (tax and tip included). We had the Ox bone soup ($8.50) with noodles and rice in it, and it was excellent! One order was plenty for 2 to share. As we waited for our food, the waitress came out with a pot of Kimchi and scissors and chopped up the cabbage and some diakon right in front of us! It was fresh and delicious, and something they are very well known for…with good reason. Our dinner was a combination of sliced raw beef, raw egg yolk, pear, julienned cucumber and some other veggies called Yook Hwe. It was also gigantic, and plenty for two. It was very much like a beef tartare, and though they had obviously frozen the beef to make it easy to slice, once it warmed up some it was fantastic. All told, this was so much food that we had all or more then we needed. I can’t wait to go back! Cheap, easy and great tasting food…I love Koreatown!