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Dec 11, 2006 04:08 PM

Wonderful Korean Barbecue Spot in Flushing

Had my first meal at Mapo Korean Restaurant at 41st Avenue and 150th St in Murray Hill (Flushing). If you enjoy Korean barbecue it's well worth it. First off, the kalbi (barbecue short ribs) was really wonderful-a clear cut above the norm. They use real charcoal and a grill that minimizes burning of the meat. The meat itself was very tender, nicely marinated and served with a side of sliced onions in a simple sauce that when taken together was really heavenly. Among the most delicious and satisfying versions in memory. Other dishes, including dukmandoo-guk (mild broth with beef dumplings and rice cakes) and dengjang-chigae (spicy bean paste soup) were also delicious. Panchan (free assorted starters) good to boot. Place is simple but comfortable and homey. Not much English. Nice people and pleasant service. Based on one visit alone I'd say it's a winner. 150th St two blocks or so below Northern Blvd. Go!

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  1. Sounds divine. How are the prices, about standard?

    1. Yep - typical prices. As usual, barbecue is a bit steeper than the other dishes. Hope you can give it a try and report back.

      1. Wow, I'm surprised by the original poster's review; I thought this place was extremely run-of-the-mill and ordinary. The meat's ok, but you can get much better, juicy, flavorful, smoky kalbi and bulgogi at Jang Tuh on Union and 37th Ave in Flushing's main downtown area, and also Sulrak Garden on Northern Boulevard around 150th. For pork bbq Ham Ji Bak's Bayside location on Northern in the 200's is the best.

        Also, the non-bbq dishes here were worse than mediocre; we gave this place multiple tries (as we always do when we see newish Korean places pop up in Queens), but, after trying almost everything on the menu, could only come to the conclusion that the food here is so-so at best. We've had denjang chigae, neng myun, and the duk mandoogook, among others, and all were just pedestrian. Even the in-laws visiting from Busan, Korea, who accompanied us on our first visit here, thought the food was nothing special, albeit better than 32nd Street (though that can be said about almost everything in Queens).

        Better to go to the standbys I mentioned, or perhaps one of the new places popping up in Bayside and Little Neck on Northern or to NJ - that's where the Korean community has been moving for some time, anyways, and where the good food is also moving.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pbergen

          Funny - it was a family from Seoul who led to the discovery at Mapo - and they are very particular. That said, I am much intrigued by your alternative suggestions and can't wait to give them a try. (My only Ham Ji Bak experience was at the nearby Murray Hill/Flushing location and that was thoroughly underwhelming). By the way, am intrigued that you return "multiple times" to try "almost everything on the menu" at a place that is "worse than mediocre". Now that's determination!

          1. re: burton

            Yeah i hear ya; to each his own. But remember that even people from the mother country can and do have widely diverging opinions on the same food at the same restaurant. I'm not saying this place is terrible - it's just that none of us thought it was that great. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, and I really feel there's better out there, both in Queens and NJ.

            As far as making multiple trips to a place we didn't love, it might be weird but my wife and I, who pretty much only eat Korean or Chinese when we go out, will check out a new place several times so that we can sample as much of the menu as possible and find what we like. Sometimes our return visits confirm our initial (positive or negative) impression, and sometimes we're pleasantly surprised or disappointed by ordering new dishes (and also re-ordering what we feel are the restaurant's "standbys" or house specialties). Only way to know for sure is to try as much of the menu as possible, you know?

            But as for Mapo, it's true that the bbq here is better than the non-bbq items (we've had it on each of our visits), but honestly, there's better out there. The non-bbq items, OTOH, are not the worst we've had, but definitely not very good (the denjang chigae and neng myun in particular come to mind). Like most restaurants, this place does some things better than others, but we simply feel that overall, it's ok but not worth a special trip.

            1. re: pbergen

              Welcome to Chowhound - which places do you like in Bayside and Little Neck? I'd love to hear more about those areas. (Ditto for northern New Jersey, but that's another board.)

              1. re: pbergen

                Glad you agree that opinions even as to the same dishes and same restaurant may legitimately differ. As the only non-Korean member of a large dining party, it seems "mother country" credentials don't always play a deciding role. As for better places out there, sure, that's usually the case. I do look forward to sampling the recommended spots. Thanks again for the specific tips. Hope to report back in the coming weeks. On a slightly different note, I wouldn't write off the 32nd St options quite so harshly either as there are some real gems amid the dross but that's a topic for another Board I guess (and one that's been pretty well covered).