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Korea Town Recommendations

Hi Fellow Hounders. I'm looking for some help deciphering the many options available in Korea town. I'm well versed in the offerings of Woorijip (one of the absolute best deals in the city), but the rest of the restaurants are a kind of blur to me.

Are there any favorites? Are there places you can recommend for one dish or another? Is there any "must try" restaurants? Thanks for your help!

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Woorijip
12 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

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  1. ok so here's a list of the places that i think have something good to offer (alot of the restaurants are awful in manhattan ktown):
    - BBQ: I'd go to either don bogam or madangsui. If you go to don bogam make sure to get a reservation
    - Arirang: the kal gook soo (a soup with noodles) is very good here and that is basically all they serve along with sam gye tang (young chicken and ginseng soup). I prefer the anchovy broth although my gf prefers the kimchi. also there is a liquid-y and dry chili paste, make sure to put some in your soup with some black pepper. also i prefer to get the "kar je bee" which is a mix of su je bee (it's pulled dough) and noodles. this is one of the better restaurants in ktown on an absolute basis
    - Gam Me Oak: sul long tang (oxtail soup) specialist, its quite good. their bin de tok (fried mung bean pancake) and bi bim bap (vegetables and meat over rice w/ a spicy chili sauce you mix in) is also very good
    - Hyo Dong Gak: this is on 35th street, this is the best korean-chinese. Get their jja jang myun (noodles in brown meat sauce), jam pong (spicy seafood noodle soup), kkhan poongi (spicy chicken) and tang soo yook (sweet and sour beef)
    - E-Mo: this place is take out only and makes good kim bap (a korean type of sushi), i prefer the spicy octopus, kimchi and spicy tuna
    - Mono + Mono: korean chicken wings, pretty decent here...its on the 2nd floor on 5th ave bet 32nd and 31st, but closer to 32nd on the west side of 5th ave
    - Baden Baden: this place make tong dak (a fried chicken that doesnt taste fried, isn't battered and looks like rotisserie chicken), i prefer to get a whole chicken as i find it juicier
    - kun jip: kun jip is very popular and sort of offers everything, however i find alot of their food mediocre, but they do have 2 dishes worth getting: 1) either of their dol sot bi bim baps (stone clay pot rice), i prefer the kimchi, but the nakji (octopus) is good as well and 2) pu dae chigae (its a spicy stew with a whole bunch of stuff in it like spam, toju, ramen, vegetables, ham, hot dogs), its quite good here

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    Gahm Mi Oak
    43 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

    E-Mo
    2 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

    Kunjip
    9 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

    Baden Baden New York
    28 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

    Madangsui
    35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

    Hyo Dong Gak
    51 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

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

    7 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Arirang also makes good pa-jun (savory pancakes). I have enjoyed their Kimchi Pa-Jun, in particular.

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      Arirang
      32 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

      1. re: Pan

        32 W 32nd has a good oxtail dish. Their seafood pancake i really like too. They are the only "real coal" bbq place in K town. I keep trying the "new fancy looking" places and get disappointed.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          There is a pretty reliable rumour that 32 W 32nd will soon be replaced by Cafe Bene II.
          Although no bones and no real charcoal, I found the BBQ (esp. Galbi) at newly-opened Gaonnuri pretty amazing. It was around $35 per order.

      2. re: Lau

        This is a great (and very thorough!) list, thank you! And thanks to everyone else who has posted below, I hope there are more to come!

          1. re: Lau

            Could you tell me which of these places has a little ambiance? Looking to go out with a group of friends and would love it to not be a total dive (though I love dives generally.) Thx.

          2. my favorite is BCD tofu house but specifically at lunch for the pretty awesome deal of dolsot bibimbap + bowl of soondooboo chigae for 13.95. plentiful amounts of ban chan, and BCD's soondooboo is probably the best in the city.

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            BCD Tofu House
            17 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

            2 Replies
            1. re: selenster

              actually i forgot to list BCD, so that would be another one to add to the list

              1. re: selenster

                Sundubu jjigae from BCD tofu house is perfect for January weather and I rather like their variety of banchan. I often stop by at Koryodong as well for their non-traditional macarons.

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                Koryodang
                31 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

              2. never tried it but ive read good things about the bibimbap at Hanbot.

                4 Replies
                1. re: daffyduck

                  hanbat is OK. i didn't get the bibimbap, just the soondooboo chigae and the squid bokum w/ spaghetti, and both were fine. service is VERY friendly at hanbat though, which is a plus.

                  1. re: selenster

                    han bat is really cheap, but the food is just so so

                  2. re: daffyduck

                    Hanbat is nothing special, IMO.

                    Another vote for soon doo boo @ BCD Tofu. I've also been to the L.A. branch and like them both. I love the fried fish banchan!

                    I agree w/ Gan Mee Oak, Don's Bogam, Madangsui, Hyodonggak, and Arirang recs.

                    I might be in the minority, but I think E-Mo's kimbap is overrated & overpriced. I'd rather get them at Woorijip premade.

                    1. re: daffyduck

                      I was at Hanbat the other night. Very reliable, inexpensive place. Nice banchan brought to table. Bibimbap is very good. Their Sul Run Tang is great, the broth has this great silky texture.

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                      Han Bat
                      53 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                    2. As much as I like BCD in LA, I really didn't care for it here. I think Seoul Garden has a better Soondooboo

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                      Seoul Garden
                      34 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kelea

                        are you saying this on the soondooboo or in general? i pretty much only ever get soondooboo :) it's my all-time favorite dish. also, though BCD took it over, much of the staff seems to be holdovers from when it was dae dong (the restaurant that was in the space prior)

                      2. Cho Dang Gol on 35th St.
                        This is a Tofu specialty place that also serves other Korean fares. It's a decent place to go if you want to try something other than the usual fare on 32nd St. Some of unique plates there include Beejee dishes which utilizes what is left of the bean after making Tofu, Chung Gook Jang which is like duanjang chigae but using further fermented bean paste ( one of my favorite Korean food, but unfortunately their version is not so great IMO, and so am still actively in search for a place...), and Korean Casseroles called Jun Gol that are more traditional types. It is not my go-to place by any means, but a place of visit occcasionally for above mentioned dishes.

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                        Cho Dang Gol
                        55 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                        1. In addition to the recs made above, KFC (Korean fried chicken) may be of interest to you. My preference is for Bon Chon.

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                          Bon Chon Chicken
                          325 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          1. Lau seems to have the k-town food spots on lock, so my suggestions is to check out the bar in the La Quinta Inn. I know, I know, the idea of going to the La Quinta...but the rooftop bar is a great hidden gem. Go into the hotel take the elevator to the top floor, hang a right and you're there. Cheap drinks, outdoor space directly under the Empire State Building. The word has gotten out a bit about this spot in the past couple of years, so it can be a bit busy at times. Still worth it.

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                            Me Bar
                            17 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001