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Korean in Koreatown

spasell Nov 11, 2011 09:02 AM

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. l
    lulumoolah RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 09:12 AM

    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. l
      lulumoolah RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 09:14 AM

      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
        spasell RE: lulumoolah Nov 11, 2011 09:18 AM

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

        1. re: spasell
          lulumoolah RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 09:45 AM

          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: lulumoolah
            spasell RE: lulumoolah Nov 11, 2011 10:00 AM

            That so much!!!!

            1. re: spasell
              spasell RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 10:04 AM

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

              1. re: spasell
                mattstolz RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 10:10 AM

                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
                  spasell RE: mattstolz Nov 11, 2011 10:21 AM

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

            2. re: lulumoolah
              Miss Needle RE: lulumoolah Nov 11, 2011 10:25 AM

              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
                plf515 RE: lulumoolah Nov 11, 2011 11:04 AM

                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.

          2. h
            H Manning RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 10:52 AM

            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
              plf515 RE: H Manning Nov 11, 2011 11:06 AM

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

            2. p
              plf515 RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 11:07 AM

              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
                spasell RE: plf515 Nov 11, 2011 11:37 AM

                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. p
                plf515 RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 11:10 AM

                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. l
                  lulumoolah RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 12:26 PM

                  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. l
                    lulumoolah RE: spasell Nov 11, 2011 12:31 PM

                    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.

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