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Korean in Koreatown

My husband and I have lived in the city 3 years, and have yet to try Korean food. That changes tonight!
We have heard that Cho Dang Gol is good, but having read your past posts, it's only so-so.

We have never had Korean, and would like to go somewhere that is a good place for Korean Food newbies.


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

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  1. Honestly, most are about the same. There are a few restaurants that specialize in certain dishes, but for the most part they offer the same menu and in terms of quality are more or less similar. That said, I would I suggest Shilla, Han Bat, BCD Tofu House, and Kunjip. Lately, I've been going to BCD Tofu and Kunjip.

    9 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

    37 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

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

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

    1. Do you have certain dishes in mind or food preferences? That may help some of the posters better direct you to certain restaurants that do those dishes better than others.

      8 Replies
      1. re: lulumoolah

        We've never had Korean, we've only heard of the dish bibimbop. We are true newbies!

        1. re: spasell

          Okay, given that you don't have any allergies or food restrictions or preferences, any of the places I mention should do. I suggest you order or try some of the following to get an idea of Korean food. These are some of the stuff I order when I eat out with non-Korean friends who've never had Korean food.

          kimchee gigae or soondobu gigae
          bulgogi or kalbi

          Hope this helps and enjoy!

            1. re: spasell

              I do have one more question, milk and me do not mix, is dairy a major player in Korean food?

              1. re: spasell

                In general milk and Koreans don't mix very well either (not a racist statement, people of Asian descent just trend towards lactose-intolerance more than Europeans)

                1. re: mattstolz

                  That's what I've heard too.
                  I really appreciate all the help!

            2. re: lulumoolah

              I think kimchi jigae is something reserved for a more seasoned Korean food eater. Many newbies I know aren't too fond of eating sour pickled veggies in a softened soupy state. But all of your other recs are spot on.

              Another one that's generally a crowd fave -- japchae -- seasoned vermicelli noodles with meat, seafood and veggies.

              1. re: lulumoolah

                I would probably recommend one of the flavored pajeons instead of a plain one. I like haemool pajeon (seafood pancake) best, but it depends on what you like.

          1. Don't miss Korean style fried chicken at Mad for Chicken or Bonchon.

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

            Turntable Mad for Chicken
            314 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001

            1 Reply
            1. re: H Manning

              That is definitely good stuff, but I would say it's a separate meal. Definitely an interesting and delicious variation on fried chicken.

            2. One note - I like spicy food. In my experience, many Asian restaurants (Thai and Sichuan especially) tone dishes down for Americans. But I've found this not to necessarily be true for Korean restaurants. When they say spicy, they mean it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: plf515

                That's good news for us, because we are often disappointed by the heat level when the menu says its spicy! Bring it on!

              2. One other note that I remember from clicking on some menus - the division of Korean restaurant menus tends to not follow western norms. For instance "appetizers" are sometimes pretty darn large dishes.

                Price can be a little bit of a clue, but not always.

                1. Yes and no about the kimchee jigae. It depends really on you. I've known non-Koreans who've taken to kimchee and dishes incorporating kimchee from the word go. My college roommate/friend used to wolf down the kimchee I would drag back from home during visits; the foods I would bring back were her first foray into Korean food. I've known others as well like her. Only you and your husband can decide based on your preferences and level of adventure.

                  As for Korean food and dairy, most Korean dishes do not feature dairy products, especially what's offered in K-town. The only time where you may have to be careful is the desserts, especially if they are western-style versions. The traditional Korean desserts normally do not have any diary.

                  1. Sorry, but one more thing. Koreans don't normally have desserts with meals. If they do have something, it's normally a piece of fruit or something small. At the end of your meal, the servers will probably give you a piece of candy or cookie or some fruit, usually segments of sliced orange. So don't expect or plan on ordering a dessert as part of your meal.