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Best Sam Gyup Sal in NY (Flushing) - Tong Sam Gyup Gui Restaurant (w/ pics)

Lau Jan 5, 2009 07:20 PM

Based off a tip from Miss Needle (thanks!), I decided to try "Tong Sam Gyup Gui" Restaurant (the name is only written in korean) and in english it says "N.Y. D.D.M. Migliore Restaurant" (i have no idea how they got that name).

The address is 162-23 Depot Rd. (Depot Rd. is on the left if you're heading north on Northern), the google map is wrong and it's actually off Northern on Depot Rd. between 162nd and 163rd not 159th. Luckily, it's literally directly next to the Broadway LIRR stop (very easy for Manhattan commuters).

Anyhow, it's a tiny restaurant with maybe 10 tables each of which have a half bubble shaped skillet type grill in the middle of each table. Not much decor wise, but was fine by me b/c i knew right when I walked in that I just found a gem. We walked in and weird as it may seem the waitress was mexican, who spoke korean!?!? Very weird, but i thought it was cool.

They've got a very short menu, which mainly consists of sam gyup sal (pork belly - house specialty), daeji bulgogi (spicy pork) and beef intestines in house special sauce. I think there is another small menu with a few chigaes and naeng myun on it. Any which way there was only one thing I planned on ordering...SAM GYUP SAL!! (I tried to get the beef intestines by my GF and friends vetoed me...aghh next time). I love specialist restaurants and this restaurant reminded me of korea where there are great specialist restaurants all over the place.

So onto the important thing. The food was awesome, here's what we ordered:
- Soup: they start you off with a delicious soup on the house, its slightly spicy, but not tangy like most korean soups and has kong na mul (bean sprouts) and pieces of radish in it. It's not too salty, has great flavor and is very tasty. Great start to the meal.
- Sam gyup sal: first they turn on the heat the grill then the waitress lays down the slices of pork belly vertically in a row on the grill (see the pic). She then puts down kimchi and kong na mul (bean sprouts) on the two sides where the pork isn't layed down. The grill is hottest at top and gets cooler on the sides. She then continues to rotate the pork from hottest to coolest until the pork is all cooked, then she cuts it up. You eat it with with the bean sprouts, kimchi and your choice of two sauces (one is sort of like tonkatsu sauce and the other is tenjang sauce). I put it in the lettuce to makes wraps (sooo good). They also give you a spicy green pepper panchan, which i ended up putting in the wrap as well (very good).
- Bi bim bap: at the end of the meal, they asked us if we wanted the bi bim bap for an add'l ($1.99). She then brings out a big bowl where they have already pre-mixed the bi bim bap, put it on the grill and mix it with the kong na mul (bean sprouts) and kimchi that are left over (make sure to leave some on the grill). This is delicious and tastes similar to dol sot bi bim bap (stone pot bi bim bap). Excellent.

Overall, we all loved it and plan on coming back very soon (very glad its next to the LIRR station). Next time, I plan on pretending to be one of the old korean ageshis (old men) sitting in the restaurant who hang out for a long time, eat delicious food and get drunk. Highly recommend, this is the by far the best sam gyup sal i have had in NY and one of the best korean finds I've been lucky enough to find in NY.

so i posted them on yelp (I'm R.L. on yelp) b/c something is wrong on chowhound (it won't let me post them)...check it out (it'll make you hungry):

Sam gyup sal (raw

Sam gyup sal (cooked

Bi Bim Bap:

Store front:

  1. l
    Lau Jan 5, 2009 07:27 PM

    not sure why it won't post my pics

    4 Replies
    1. re: Lau
      kobetobiko Jan 5, 2009 07:50 PM

      Hi Lau,

      are you pictures bigger than 2 MB? CH can only support pictures less than 2 MB. I was also unable to load some of my pictures in the past because they are too big.

      1. re: kobetobiko
        Lau Jan 5, 2009 07:57 PM

        oh i didnt check, any which way, check the yelp pics, i edited the original post

        1. re: kobetobiko
          Miss Needle Jan 6, 2009 08:36 AM

          Kobe, you can use a photo editing program (doesn't have to be Adobe or anything like that -- I just use the free one that came with my computer) to decrease the quality of pics so that it's less than 2 MB.

          Lau, nice report and terrific pics! The bi bim bap shouldn't be missed! For me, it was the best part of the meal -- too bad I was stuffed from all the pork. The rice gets all smoky and well charred from the pan. Try to leave some pork as well. I took most of the rice home.

          You're going to wear your ajushi glasses, unflattering polyester pants with your socks and slippers next time? ; )

          1. re: Miss Needle
            Lau Jan 6, 2009 08:50 AM

            there was a group of them there when i was there and they were wearing exactly that haha

            yeah that bi bim bap was very surprisingly good

      2. d
        david sprague Jan 5, 2009 07:30 PM


        sounds great! gotta get some folks together.........

        1 Reply
        1. re: david sprague
          chefjellynow Jan 7, 2009 05:41 AM

          i may fight the rain and go today

        2. j
          jmax Jan 7, 2009 05:10 AM

          Is speaking English an issue? The menu looks to only be in Korean. Do you order it per person?

          2 Replies
          1. re: jmax
            Lau Jan 7, 2009 05:14 AM

            English: english isn't an issue, i mean they don't speak good english, but they can speak it...wasn't a problem for us since my gf can speak korean although i can't so that's how we figured out they could speak english.

            Menu: There is one menu that is in english that has the items you want on it (sam gyup sal and bi bim bap)

            Per person: well you sort of order per person, but its like any other korean bbq where there is one grill (in this case one skillet). There were 5 of us, but we only ordered 4 orders of sam gyup sal, which was enough (the order is fairly large especially if you're getting the bi bim bap as well)

            1. re: Lau
              Miss Needle Jan 7, 2009 07:09 AM

              Yes, the pork's on an English menu. There is another menu that has some casseroles that hasn't been translated. Based from the pic in Yelp, they are:

              Chueotang -- loachfish soup (I talk about it in another post here on this board)
              Kochujangg jigae -- hot pepper paste casserole
              Daen jang jige -- soybean paste cassserole
              Kimchi jigae -- kimchi casserole

          2. s
            stuck_in_midtown Jan 27, 2009 05:37 AM

            awesome! this looks just like the sam gyup sal place I went to in LA which was awesome

            1 Reply
            1. re: stuck_in_midtown
              Lau Jan 27, 2009 06:56 AM

              its quite good u should go

            2. r
              Remag1234 Jan 27, 2009 09:21 AM

              Sorry, but Northern Blvd. runs East & West

              2 Replies
              1. re: Remag1234
                rocketman Jan 28, 2009 02:00 PM

                Tried it today based on these reviews...it was just OK...nothing to write home about...the pork has big chunks of fat at the ends of each cut piece....never had it anywhere else so not comparing it to others, just the dish itself.....$18 for the Samgyupsal and $1.99 for the rice plus tax and tip makes a pretty expensive lunch for a place with very little overhead......just my .02 cents

                1. re: rocketman
                  Lau Jan 28, 2009 02:48 PM

                  sorry you didn't like it

                  fyi, sam gyup sal is always like that b/c its pork belly, which is very fatty...sounds like the dish itself is not to your liking (this is a good version of it)

                  i thought it was a ridiculous amt of food for the price although its very heavy for a lunch

              2. Polecat Feb 23, 2009 04:34 PM

                This place was absolutely superb. We went last night, and our mouths are already watering at the thought of a quick return. The big slabs of pork have been marinated – this courtesy of info my wife culled from the proprietress – for three days in a miso-based broth, which serves to optimize flavor and rid the pork of all impure and bad spirits. They cook down nice on the circular grill, remaining juicy while getting a nice crunchy exterior as well. When dabbed in a two types of bbq sauce (one tangy, the other more hot), bedded down in a lettuce leaf, and surrounded by a tiny pepper ball, noodle-like strands of sweet pickled radishes, bean sprouts, half-moons of garlic, a little rice and some of the most amazing kimchi we’ve ever tasted (they make it on site and sell containers for a whopping 18 clams), they form the bedrock of an extraordinary taste explosion that works on a textural level as well. One bite, and you're awake to the myrial possibilities; this is what Korean bbq can be, and, all too often, isn't. We also noticed a more expensive (about 40 bucks) Octopus platter, which is very tempting; it's going to be hard, however, to choose over the pig, though. I also noticed a brand new pocha, along the lines of Goo Gong Tan (better known on this board as Han Shin Pocha, which is kind of like referring to DiFara's as "Pizzeria."). It's called Incheon Airport restaurant; they had their grand opening flags out. Murray Hill is yielding its' special charms, and has become quite the fun drinking and eating destination. I now face the agonizing decision when I'm in the area - which is often: Kalbi at GaSiRi, or sam gyap sul at TSGG?

                Not a bad quandry to find one's self in, and nothing, I might add, that a bottle or two of soju won't fix.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Polecat
                  Lau Feb 24, 2009 10:27 AM

                  glad you liked this place...i think its definitely one of the best korean places in NY that i've been to

                  1. re: Polecat
                    Miss Needle Feb 24, 2009 11:35 AM

                    Thanks for that tidbit about the miso-broth marination. Seems like the broth would cure it which made the pork taste so good.

                    1. re: Miss Needle
                      Polecat Feb 24, 2009 12:32 PM

                      Actually, my wife scolded me for the slight miscue. It's not miso, per se, but a Korean soy-bean based marinade. 20 lashes.

                      1. re: Polecat
                        frankie5angels Feb 24, 2009 12:59 PM

                        So this is $18 per person?

                        How about booze? BYOB okay or do they have wine/beer?

                        Thanks. :

                        Oops. One more question. If people order different meals, do they cook on seperate grills? Or do you all have to have the pork?

                        1. re: frankie5angels
                          Lau Feb 24, 2009 03:40 PM

                          yeah its about $18 / order (we ordered 4 orders for 5 people) + $2 or so for the bi bim bap

                          They do have beer and soju (i got beers last time)

                          Well they dont have that many things you can order, but it will all be cooked on one grill b/c there is only one big skillet / grill thing per table (its big takes up like half the table)

                        2. re: Polecat
                          Miss Needle Feb 26, 2009 05:18 AM

                          I agree with your wife. Shame on you! ; )

                          I'm thinking it was probably marinated in daen jang, anchovy broth and perhaps some ginger. My mom said to use ginger when cooking pork to make it more "pure." The brine must have been really subtle because I didn't detect any daen jang when I ate the pork alone.

                          1. re: Miss Needle
                            Polecat Feb 26, 2009 04:24 PM

                            I just checked with her, and, yeah, that's exactly what she was told by the proprietress. But they pretty much dump the pork into the daen jang for three days, so that the smell and a lot of excess fat drips out.

                            And, now that I've crossed a Korean woman, I figure I'm next up to get thrown into the pot.

                            1. re: Polecat
                              Miss Needle Feb 27, 2009 10:19 AM

                              Oh yes. Crossing a Korean woman is never a good thing. They may look so sweet on the outside. But get on her bad side and all hell breaks loose. : )

                    2. c
                      corgi Mar 8, 2009 11:33 AM

                      Migliore is apparently the name of a Korean Department store chain. As for D.D.M., no clue. Going tonight, looking forward to it.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: corgi
                        erica Aug 6, 2009 03:06 PM

                        Has anyone been here lately?

                        DDM must mean Dong Dae Mun, the Seoul shopping area.

                        1. re: erica
                          Lau Aug 6, 2009 04:02 PM

                          no, but ill be going there soon

                          1. re: Lau
                            erica Aug 7, 2009 04:26 AM

                            Thanks, Lau. I trust that we can look forward to another well-written and comprehensive report!

                            I never did get to Ga Si Ri but with the cooler weather on the horizon, my thoughts turned to Flushing and its many delights..I would like to try one of the Korean BBQ places soon..

                      2. mushimushi427 Nov 4, 2009 04:07 PM

                        Do they have kimchi jigae? My favorite kimchi jigae restaurant, Hamji Bak, seems to have closed! So sad.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: mushimushi427
                          Lau Nov 4, 2009 05:19 PM

                          they might, but its really a sam gyup sal place....last time we were at san kap soo on nothern (not the one in downtown flushing), they had surprisingly good kimchi chigae

                          1. re: mushimushi427
                            Polecat Nov 4, 2009 05:44 PM

                            No kimchi jigae here, unless things have changed drastically since my last visit. But the kimchi itself is made in house and is, to my taste, excellent. One of my favorite things about going here is asking for them to make bibimbab with the left over rice, kimchi and pork. It's about as good a helping of fried rice as I've had in a long time.

                            And what's this about Ham Ji Bak closing?

                            Hahm Ji Bach
                            45-30 Bell Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

                            1. re: Polecat
                              mushimushi427 Nov 5, 2009 10:02 AM

                              We went to Hamji Bak near the LIRR Murray Hill Station on two different nights last week and they were closed! There wasn't an out of business sign up so I'm not sure what happened. They have the best kimchi jigae IMHO.

                            2. re: mushimushi427
                              Miss Needle Nov 4, 2009 05:53 PM

                              According to one of the pics on yelp, yes, they do have kimchi jigae. It's the last one which is priced at $7.99.


                              1. re: Miss Needle
                                Lau Nov 4, 2009 05:57 PM

                                yeah good call on looking up the yelp pic b/c i remember them having a few chigaes along with their bbq (sam gyup sal and beef intestines)

                                the fried rice is awesome

                                btw there is more than one branch of ham ji bak, i like the one on bell

                            3. mushimushi427 Dec 2, 2009 04:28 PM

                              Ah! We finally found the restaurant, which is located on the North side of the LIRR train stop. The little bundles of pork bbq and pickled with all the sauces make quite a tangy, tasty bite. Unfortunately, I cannot read Korean so I was happy to see Polecat's posting about the octopus. We'll have to go back and try it.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: mushimushi427
                                Ayun Dec 9, 2010 10:58 AM

                                I'll be danged! Tong Sam Gyup got me in the Village Voice!

                                1. re: Ayun
                                  Lau Dec 11, 2010 05:55 AM

                                  haha interesting...check out my blog for more recs: www.lauhound.com

                                  1. re: Lau
                                    Perkalator Feb 21, 2011 06:48 AM

                                    Fantastic blog, by the way!

                                    1. re: Perkalator
                                      Lau Feb 21, 2011 07:24 AM


                              2. n
                                nychungrymama Jan 8, 2011 06:59 PM

                                Tong Sam Gyup Gui in Flushing NY- Great write up in 2009 and just before running out of Manhattan, I found the Jan write up by Lau. Now its January 2011 and that older review is Still spot on. Took Hubby and the two kids and I felt like we had just been invited into someone's home for some awesome delicious dinner! Yes, the table is super small considering the huge Dome cooking implement (they started using a chair and a side table), but oh my heavens! I've never had this pork belly before and if we had any doubts on how to eat it, we were gently shown by the "on-yee". Soothing cups of tea, bracing ice water....and the tables filled up around us for the rest of the evening. I was so impressed with this new foray into Korean cooking! We are positively, absolutely going back! Lastly, maybe I've grown too used to Manhattan prices, but the whole meal was $75 (we did two Sam Gyup's and one bulgoggi..then the bimbimpap and a cold beer) so after seeing how much we were given for that price, we thought we had great value. Enjoy!

                                Tong Sam Gyup Gui
                                162-23 Depot Rd, Queens, NY 11358

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