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Any Good Korean Places south of 14th?

And by this I mean authentic Korean. Not sure what that means but not Korean so fusioned that it's it's own thing (Momofuku Ssam) or not completely upscaled Korean (Woo Lae Oak). The place I go to is Dok Suni.

I'm I missing some places here?

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  1. below 14th? why discount all of k-town? with that said, the place on carmine is called Do Hwa and something between woo lae oak and dok suni in terms of price and "upscale-ness" but not particularly authentic. just stick w/ the k-town favorites (kunjip, cho dang gol or even dae dong)

    3 Replies
    1. re: bigjeff

      Thanks, Not discounting all of K-town, I just live in the East Village and generally eat downtown.

      1. re: hominaray

        gotcha. k-town is usually worth the trip but in a pinch, I also remember this place on bleecker street (NYU-area) I think called cho gah or something like that, an upstairs space. it was kinda decent, han bat quality, nothing crazy. but, worth a visit.

        1. re: bigjeff

          The restaurant on Bleecker St (145 Bleecker) is called Choga. I've never eaten there, but it has pretty good reviews on this board, especially for its Bibimbab.

    2. There's an authentic and not-too-pricey barbecue joint that also serves Japanese tapas right next to Angel's Share bar at Astor Place. It's at 8 Stuyvesant Street.

      Do Hwa is tasty, but it's more expensive than tasty.

      5 Replies
      1. re: cimui

        Just thought of another one: Kirara. It's on Carmine St. (down the st. from Do Hwa), not too pricey, doesn't do barbecue at the table, and focuses more on homey stuff like bibimbap. They also serve sushi, but I wouldn't recommend that part of the menu.

        1. re: cimui

          I was wondering about the Korean food at Kirara. I understand that it's a sushi place that's owned by a Korean family, and thus, have some Korean items on the menu. To be sure, it seems mainly focused on sushi - i've ordered from there quite frequently and would quite readily recommend it as a sushi place.

        2. re: cimui

          I think your refering to Village Yokocho which does serve some Korean Staples including bbq on it's 2/F spot right above the Around the Clock Diner. I would recommend to order more of it's Japanese Izakaya - tapas- cooked food - skewers - over it's Korean offerings...but, the latter is serviceable if that is what the poster is looking for and cheap...though I would personally hop on the F and just head uptown to 32nd St./6th for more decent Korean chow when able. There's also a cheapish Korean place on Mercer just below 8th st. within the NYU area which serves decent fare.

          1. re: nyufoodie

            Yes--thanks for the name. No one I know has ever referred to it by name, only as "that Korean bbq place next to Angel's Share." Out of curiosity, why do you not recommend the Korean barbecue there? It's run by Japanese people, but I think they do a good, authentic barbecue (as well as great tapas).

            1. re: nyufoodie

              So, speaking of which, how do any of you rate Angel's Share? I went upstairs, checked the menu out and intend to go there. It looks really interesting. I heard the sauteed squid and glass noodles is epic. Also, it looks like a place where you can find stuff hot enough to burn your face off, if you want that. I saw a great looking dish with enoki, kimchi and lots of chili oil in a red broth. I also saw some promising looking grilled (small) whole fish.

          2. How about DoSirak? Love that place.

            1. dosirak (on 13th btw bway and university) is great. there's another small place (called temple, i think) on st. mark's place between 1st and 2nd aves that's also very good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wleatherette

                i like Dosirak too...a cute collegy place...with decent wines by the glass...i usually get the Jeyyuk Ssam

              2. to answer your question - none.

                by default, there are the places already mentioned: dosirak, choga, and temple. i don't like any of them, but i'd at least consider going to them in a pinch. they are what they are - serviceable if you must stay downtown to get your korean fix (and authentic enough, i guess), but nothing more than that.

                for what it's worth, i absolutely won't go to doksuni, do hwa, woo lae oak, sura, kori, bonjoo, or any place like that. yes, i've been to all, and each one irritated me more than the next, speaking as a korean. i've said it many times - manhattan is not the place for korean food, but if you don't want to leave the borough, go to k town.

                2 Replies
                1. re: surly

                  Hence the post, I don't go to Midtown too often and I eat out in the neighborhood a lot (EV, LES). Serviceable Korean Downtown?

                  1. re: hominaray

                    once again: dosirak, choga, and temple.

                2. East Village? How about Gama on St. Marks?

                  Haven't been back since last month: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/348601

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: spanky28

                    I am very devoted to Korean food and I also live in the East Village.

                    Although I always read Surly's posts on Korean food as a guide when I am looking to try a new Korean restaurant, I disagree about Dok Suni -- I think that it's much better than Temple. I have only been to Gama on St. Marks once, but I liked it and think that it has promise as an EV alternative when it isn't practical to go to Kun Jip or Flushing. I have to admit that the atmosphere dilutes my opinion about the food (it has a bar up front, a trendy vibe and some of the waitstaff is not well versed in Korean cuisine). Do Sirak is good, although they don't serve panchan the last time I checked.

                    In my experience, the best Korean restaurants tend to specialize in a few dishes and one has to know what to order to have the best experience. The downtown options are largely catering to a significantly more Americanized audience and don't tend to have specialties or discernable strengths in the same way that the best restaurants in K-town and Flusing do. That being said, if you stay away from the dishes that are clearly catering to people who are unfamiliar with Korean food, you can still satisfy a craving without getting on the subway.

                    1. re: mashpee

                      Thanks for the info. Not many choices downtown since I don't have the heart to go to a "Korean" place that serves sushi.

                      1. re: mashpee

                        yeah temple's definitely not the best place for korean food. a little pricey given the portion size, too. so perhaps it doesn't even qualify as a "serviceable downtown korean option". but last time i went, while i didn't find it great, i didn't dislike it the way i felt about some of the other places, inc. doksuni. so we (respectfully) disagree there, but bottom line to me is that i don't care for either. to me, one is just mediocre and one is not even that.

                        1. re: surly

                          I have to say that of the aforementioned non K-town spots, Temple is probably the worst of the lot because it borders on not even being Korean. I can make a better kimchi jigae than they did; it was like instant kimchi ramen broth with a few pieces of kimchi thrown in. Their other food is serviceable as bland healthy pan asian stuff but they are really taking it too far. I actually like Dok Suni's/ Do Hwa for what it is; watered down but still reasonably tasty Korean, and I think Dosirak is a really nice little college area spot with authentic flavors. Never been to Choga or Sura.

                          Granted these aren't really full scale or fully authentic even compared to K-town (which in turn isn't that delicious compared to Flushing/NJ spots) but they are better than nothing (except Temple).

                          1. re: jeanki

                            I agree totally about Temple. I thought it was awful. And Dok Suni was exactly that "watered down but still reasonably tasty". Dosirak was good enough in a pinch.

                            1. re: asm305

                              i can't agree with you guys about dok suni or do hwa. i've always thought they were pretty bad. the only reason i've even gone in the last year or two is because of non-korean friends who insisted on staying downtown to get their korean fix. if i couldn't convince them to at least go to k-town, i certainly wasn't going to get them to go to nj or flushing. if it weren't for them, i'd never bother with those downtown places.

                              as for temple, i certainly don't think it's very good. but my last couple of visits to the place (which were, admittedly, more than a year ago) were serviceable. not good, and not cheap for the portions, but serviceable. i haven't been able to say the same about most of the other downtown korean spots which i mentioned in earlier posts.

                              though if someone tells me that their experience with the food at temple was really bad, i'm not going to argue, as it was never good to begin with and never a place that i'd want to go to anyhow. perhaps i've always caught it on a "good" night (meaning, the food was not great but not terrible) and the "norm" is for the food to be disgusting swill.

                    2. Isn't there a Korean place called SuRa in the East Village? I've never been, but I know it's been mentioned on the board.

                      1. i like choga. they have good korean staples and decent japanese. i haven't been to the new woo lae oak, but "upscale" is not the first adjective that comes to mind. many many koreans have told me it is totally unauthentic (overpriced, too, yes). it's americanized. which is a shame b/c i used to go there when it was in midtown before it burnt down, when i was about 5, over 20 years ago, with my family.

                        there is another place around the corner from dosirak. it's on 5th ave and 13th upstairs in a deli. there's a korean lady that does all the cooking, and you order at the counter. it is ridiculously cheap, with dishes for like $5.95 - $8.95. cheapest dolsot/gobdol bibimbop (hot stone bowl) i've ever seen in ny. it's decent and takes a bit of time, but homecooked and good. they're only open on weekdays until 8 pm (more of a lunch student spot).

                        haven't been yet, but i heard li hua in chinatown / nolita is really good. it sounds chinese, but my korean friends assure me it's korean.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jungirl

                          the deli with the korean food upstairs is called pilly's. i really like their soon dobu - $6.99 for a huge portion.

                          1. re: jungirl

                            Yes Li Hua (I guess they mean like Ewha University?) is actually a smaller scale but definitely authentic, decent Korean joint with good prices and decent bibimbob/stews. Not super, but good for the area.

                          2. there's a korean restaurant that's open till 1 am everyday in the east village called jeollado. never been but will try it out. it's on 4th st between 2nd and 3rd ave i believe.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: StellaArtois

                              that place is actually pretty cool; lots of japanese food on the menu and its a pretty cool space (converted garage) and they also have some film screenings there as well. the food is kinda fancy and not homestyle at all, as the place fashions itself to be hip and design-oriented. but, its cool.

                              1. re: StellaArtois

                                isn't jeollado more of a sushi restaurant? i could be wrong about this, of course. it's been quite some time since i've been there.

                              2. Thanks for some new suggestions. I live in the Village, and I have been unimpressed with the Korean food available down here. The rice is always bad, which for a Korean person, spoils the whole meal. The soups and stews (the soul of Korean food) always taste like water with spices added. It's not that hard to make good Korean food. What's the problem with the downtown restaurants? I also end up going to Dok Suni or Do Hwa with non-Korean friends who don't want to go to midtown, and alway regret it.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: NYprof

                                  i'm perpetually disappointed by the lack of good downtown korean options.

                                  any time a new place opens, i vow to try it at least once or twice, because honestly i'd love to be able to eat great korean food in a nice downtown setting. not to mention, my married friends who live down around st. marks always want to eat at one of the downtown korean places. but i've been burned so many times. nothing's been better than serviceable, and much of what i've eaten has been awful. and not cheap.

                                  the problem is that there isn't a large community of immigrant korean families in manhattan. the majority of them live in bergen county, nj and flushing, queens, so there's a much higher standard of quality and authenticity for the korean food there. on the flip side, most koreans in manhattan are korean american students/young professionals or rich foreign students or young expats just bumming around. without large numbers of immigrant families demanding the best, most authentic food, the food is bound to suffer - and that's exactly what's happened on 32nd st, with the downtown places being even worse. surprisingly, though, most koreans i know who live in manhattan are content with eating on 32nd street because getting to queens or nj is a pain - they'd rather eat something serviceable than travel for the good stuff.

                                  this "mediocre korean is better than no korean" mentality keeps these places in business even as they serve worse food every year.

                                  as my cousin (who's visited from korea on several occasions) has told me, "the korean food in nj and queens is so much better than in manhattan, but if i'm visiting here for a few weeks why am i gonna go out there just to eat? as long as i get my korean fix and it's edible, i'm ok."

                                  needless to say, she's not much of a food person. tho to be fair, almost any korean food she's eaten in ny/nj pales in comparison to what she eats on a daily basis in korea, so to some extent she's downgrading no matter where she eats in the area - 32nd st, downtown, flushing, or nj.

                                  1. re: surly

                                    Thank you, surly. I am not afraid of the boroughs, but don't have a car. Do you have recommendation that's accessible by public transportation in Flushing?

                                  2. re: NYprof

                                    I used to think Dok Suni was bad, but then tried the kimchee bokum with beef --not the one stirfried with tofu, just rice, and now that's what i always get. the kimchee pajun is also good, as is their gimbap which is really pretty if completely overpriced.

                                    1. like someone has already mentioned, Village Yokocho has some korean items, and I actually like quite a few items from there. The rumor is that one of the cooks is Korean and I definitely can tell when she's working because the korean food at this place tastes much much better. So far i have not been able to track down the times/days she's working though.

                                      The items i've liked at Village Yokocho are: Kimchi-jjigae (not as garlicky and lots of shitake mushrooms), spicy raw crabs (definitely does not taste like the authentic korean version but strangely it's very addicting), and fried kimchi pork.

                                      They also have other things like yook-gae-jang and galbi.

                                      Korean food at japanese places definitely does not taste like korean food, but at times it can taste very good and quite a few koreans like this other version too (of course they like the authentic version too but sometimes one gets different cravings).