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Best Korean Barbecue in Koreatown

  • c

Hi, I know there've been threads on this previously, but nothing very recent, I think.

I'm wondering what current opinion is on the best Korean barbecue spot in K-town. I think I'd like to foot the bill, since I'll be dining with a friend who does not have a lot of disposable income at the moment, but in case he doesn't let me, I still want to keep it as inexpensive as possible (without sacrificing quality, of course!).

Thanks so much for your help!

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    1. Here is this thread from a couple of weeks ago: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/450261.

      Beyond the great 36 Bar and BBQ closing, there haven't been a lot of changes in the K town strip, so even older threads should give you something to go on.

        1. kunjip is not known so much for their bbq but more for their cooked dishes; a lot of the places on "the strip" are decent, but no real standouts; shilla has been a favorite for their kalbi since arriving a few years ago but I keep hearing more and more about a place on 35th street called Madangsui which is apparently a midtown outpost of a fort lee original, and the place specializes in bbq; apparently all their meat is fresh, never frozen, and supposed to be the best right now. Planning to make a trip myself but based on what I've heard, I'd definitely check this place out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bigjeff

            Agreed -- Kunjip is *not* the place to go for Korean bbq. Sadly, their bi bim bap isn't so hot, either. Stick with the chigaes...

          2. I'm new to Korean food, live very near to K-town, and would LOVE some guidance on this.

            I went to Kunjip, and I have to say that the Bulgogi knocked my socks off, but the atmosphere is going to make me never go back there again.

            My husband and I went on a Friday night, stood in line, were asked to order in line, and were seated about 20 minutes later where we were rushed to the point of almost being force fed our food.

            I understand the concept of high volume dining, but is there any place near or about Koreatown that has a wee bit more atmosphere, where we could at least have a conversation over dinner and not be served assembly line / factory - I feel like I'm in a freaking sweatshop - style that you guys might recommend?

            Food is fantastic, I agree, but I wouldn't mind somewhere a little bit more chill.

            10 Replies
            1. re: coleyas

              I like kunjip, but true they are more known for their cooked dishes. i think Madangsui is also quite good, and I try to go during off peak to avoid the rush -- I enjoy eating in less crowded atmosphere, so with any of these places I try to go before 5 or late late. Its not like the great BBQ Korean places in LA or in Jersey for that matter, which is a shame. I have much more respect for the Korean restaurants in LA now that they are a million times better than the Korean BBQ places in NY. Even the Korean pizza and Korean Spicy Fried Chicken seems better out there!

              1. re: RawTunaFan

                Kunjip is one of the worst korean food experiences I've ever had. Truly mediocre food.

                1. re: Borat

                  I'm not Korean but I don't think I ever fully appreciated Korean food until a Korean friend took us to Kunjip - there was a wide variety of flavors and spices and textures that really made it more of a gourmet experience. (Don't laugh - I know some people are shocked that anyone could use Kunjip and gourmet in the same sentence.)

                  Of course the loud crowds and long waits are very annoying but I really think that the food is better than other restaurants in Koreatown. And I've been happy and full all the times I've gone back, but I wish I knew that the fried chicken dish was that my friend ordered - sweet, spicy, tasty, crunchy. Every time I've tried ordering the waitress says it's not available or not on the menu.

                  Of course Flushing is a different ballgame.

                  1. re: windycity

                    Decided to try Kunjip last night based on the recommendations here. Chose a takeout order of jaeyook gui to compare with the same dish I had just had from Hangang.
                    Based on this single-dish experience, I was very disappointed. There was a very heavy canned tomato sauce flavor that I did not like. This was the worst version of the dish I can remember having. I can understand why Borat commented above that it was one of the worst korean food experiences s/he has had.

                    I did not like the atmosphere of the restaurant at all. The space feels more cramped and has more subdued lighting than in many of the other restaurants on the strip. The wait for the food was very long (the 10 or 15 minutes that I was told to expect turned out to be more like 30 minutes), the music was loud and overbearing - apart from the loud dining parties, and the smells of food being cooked tableside were overbearing. That said, it is clearly a very popular place, and the customers appeared to be enjoying the experience.

                    Note to those going for bbq, the cooking is done on electric plates not over charcoal - if it makes a difference to you.

                    1. re: windycity

                      I am Korean which makes it more difficult for me to find really good Korean food, ignorance truly IS bliss...

                      I think the chicken dish is Kanpoongkee. It is a chinese/korean dish, maybe an offshoot of kungpow chicken, but much more tasty in my opinion.

                      Glad you enjoyed Kunjip.

                  2. re: RawTunaFan

                    I've been to Madangsui only once so far, but it was a great meal, and the service was very gracious. I think the place is great!

                  3. re: coleyas

                    Try Korea Palace-E 54 bet park and lex-much more relaxed

                    1. re: UES Mayor

                      food at korea palace is terrible

                      1. re: Lau

                        Well you can disagree but I happen to an authority of Korean cuisine-AND the UES MAYOR-that being said I have always had extremley wonderful meals there and extremely great service-i think they may Americanize the food just a tad but that's to accomodate most palates-btw-i'm a Kim besides being the ues mayor!

                      2. re: UES Mayor

                        sorry but i have to agree, korea palace is really mediocre. its not even americanized in a good way, its just poorly seasoned korean food.