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Great Korean BBQ, not Flushing (Kang Suh, Wom Jo, or Madangsui?)

Looking for a good Korean BBQ place, preferably in Manhattan. Kang Suh has been recommended to us, but I've read up on it here and heard the kim chi sucks. That's a bummer.

If I had to choose between Wom Jo or Madangsui, which would it be?

I know next to nothing about Korean BBQ, the few Korean meals I've had I found to be rather underwhelming, and I'm hoping to get a better insight this time. I LOVE spicy food, so that won't be an issue.

Thanks, as always.

Review of Convivio (disappointing -- 1 Michelin star? really???), Yasuda (fantastic), and Resto (nice) to follow soon.

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  1. I agree with you on Convivio. I haven't been to Wom Jo but I really like mandangsui - enough space (not all cramped like most Ktown restaurants) and the food is delicious. I also like Kam Suh.

    1. Madangsui is tops for Korean BBQ in Manhattan. I would highly recommend AGAINST Kang Suh. The food is VERY mediocre. Any Korean restaurant that has everything under the sun in the menu -- not a good sign. Won Jo is a notch better, but stick to BBQ specialists for Korean BBQ, such as Madangsui, Don's Bogam, etc.

      1. I prefer Kang Suh over Madangsui for BBQ. I find the meat marinade much more tasty. I don't know what the big hype over Madangsui is and why NY Times choose this particular joint to cover Korean BBQ. It's certainly not bad but not worth the hype.

        I like Shilla for BBQ. It's not know as the BBQ spot, but it's great. Also, if you don't mind less banchan, I highly recommend Don's Bogam for the BBQ.

        Kang Suh
        1250 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

        1. i went to Madangsui on Saturday. It was quite busy so I am glad we made a reservation.

          It was good, but not sure if it is one star worthy.

          1. Anybody else been to Madangsui lately? How far in advance did you need to reserve? Thinking of going with a party of 4 soonish but one of the members has a very irregular schedule due to work-related travel.

            35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              i would think you can get a same day reservation. i've never made one and never waited more than twenty minutes for a table, even on weekend nights. as usual, the negative thing about nearly all korean restaurants in manhattan is the ambience. madangsui is no exception.

              1. re: kathryn

                I realize you posted this back in April, but for what it's worth, I've never made a reservation at Madangsui but just show up and have never had much of a wait, if any. It's been some time, though, so I couldn't say whether that situation has changed.

              2. I found everything at Madangsui delicious, but then I am not that experienced with a wide range of Korean food. Which leads to my own question, how do you order the BBQ?
                We were told that the BBQ section was priced for one but there was a two person order minimum and the amount of stuff that came to the table next to us didn't indicate that they were each getting as much as it was priced so I'm very confused.
                Any suggestions would be welcome because I like the table cooking and would like to get a small party together for some good BBQ.

                35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                1 Reply
                1. re: kbeaton

                  Yes, 2 order minimum is the case at most gui joints. Each item is priced for one, and generally enough for one person. If you've got a larger group (4+) i'd recommend getting a few less orders of meat, and supplement with soups, dumplings or pancakes.

                  They'll throw a ton of banchan your way, and they always serve an order of gaeran jjim (steamed egg) and den jang (veggie miso soup) if you get the minimum order amount of meat, so you'll definitely be full. I noticed that they sometimes don't serve the gaeran jjim and den jang to Westerners automatically, so you may have to ask - but they should be incl in the price.

                2. I prefer Madangsui and Shilla over Won Jo.

                  37 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                  35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                  1. Wonjo did have a renovation of some sorts and maybe a change of ownership? but I don't know if the food changed. last time I ate there, totally unimpressed.

                    23 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bigjeff

                      They did change ownership couple months ago-I was told this by....well the new owner! Found the food a bit blander than previous visits and I have been there hundreds of times.I felt it was just a wee bit Americanized altho service still nice.

                    2. i'd go to either don bogam or madangsui, those are the best in my opinion as the quality of the meat is the highest. They also tend to be reasonably nice especially don bogam. If you go to don bogam, you should try their sam gyup sal (pork belly as well), they are known for it. I'd highly recommend making a res if you're going to don bogam, they can have bad waits (45 mins+) on thurs-sat night

                      won jo and kang suh are garbage (unfortunately most of manhattan ktown is not good although it seems to be getting better)

                      the other two that have decent bbq are NY Komtang (they use charcoal, so you smell terrible, but its good) and woo chon on 36th, specifically at woo chon their "special kalbi" is good although the rest of their food is blehh

                      Woo Chon
                      8 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

                      Don's Bogam
                      17 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                      New York Kom Tang Soot Bul Kal Bi
                      32 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                      1. As an update to this general thread, we have been going to Korea town relatively regularly over the past year or so. Trying a number of spots. Long story short: for all around "best" we think that honor goes to Madangsui. Yes, we think its likely the best bbq but all the items we have had have been very good, in comparison to some other spots where only one or two dishes is great. There are some other spots in K-town that focus on one or two dishes (a certain soup, tofu dishes, etc.) yet, all around we haven't done much better than Mandangusi. And, of note, the restaurant closes at 11 p.m. We were there at ten last night and "last call" for the kitchen came shortly thereafter.

                        35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001