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Apr 22, 2012 12:58 PM

Best of Koreatown ??

I was planning on visiting on the city's K town .... what are the stand out spots these days ??? Or the places that do a dish particularly well that you like ??

Thanks !

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  1. Unless there are other places I haven't checked out that are better, I'd say the best places are Madangsui and Don's Bogam. Both are barbecue specialists, though Don's also does well with other dishes. They both have excellent banchan, too, with a slight edge to Madangsui. In both Madangsui and Don's Bogam, you'll do best by sticking to beef cuts for BBQ. At Don's, get the galbi marinated in hot sauce, and also get marinated galbi and bulgogi at Madangsui.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pan

      i enjoyed Don's when i went there a month ago...we got a stir-fry pork dish which we liked, in addition to the bbq...i thought the shrimp for the bbq was just so-so, but the tuna was yummy...but what i liked most was the rustic comfy vibe and the fact that they have a decent wine list (as i am not a beer or soju drinker)...

      1. re: diprey11

        Yes, Arirang is indeed lovely! Also like Madangsui and Don's Bogam. All good recs.

        My other favorites are Gahm Mi Oak (for ox-bone soup and kimchi) Mandoo Bar (super casual, I actually like their stone pot bibimbap more than their dumplings) and Woorijip (more of a take-out place, I like it best for their sweet rice cakes, best in NYC as far as I know.) I used to like BCD Tofu quite a bit, but apparently it's gone now - there's a really great soon doo boo spot in Sunnyside, Queens, if that's what you're looking for but since it's Manhattan board, I'll stop here.

        1. re: uwsister

          i liked BCD (though i thought their banchan was so-so)...but as my out-of-Manhattan trips are usually taken up by Thai places, i doubt i'll make it to Sunnyside for soon doo boo, as SDB is a pretty simple dish to cook at home: soft tofu + kimchi and/or red chili paste + whatever one wants to add protein-wise, and heat...i cook myself all kinds of bastardized versions frequently and to my non-Korean palate, they taste pretty close to the real thing...

          But for good samgyetang, for that i'd happily travel :)

          1. re: Simon

            Oh I loved BCD's fried fish banchan. That's actually the main reason I went there! I actually don't cook so I wouldn't know how easy it is - my (Caucasian) husband cooks Korean food sometimes, but he's never made SDB. Maybe I should get him to try it one winter day. It's great that you do though!

            I can't say I've had a really excellent samgyetang in NYC, would be nice to know for a "dog day" in summer. If anyone knows, post away. I feel like it's on the menu at Arirang, but I may be thinking of their (very delicious) dakdoritang.

            1. re: uwsister

              -- i've never had even decent samgyetang outside of Korea...i had it at Arirang once, and while i love the place and the sweet staff and all that jazz and i believe the reports that their chicken noodle dishes are great, the samgyetang that one time was borderline awful...

              -- re: BCD: i loved the "idea" that they gave you all that fried fish (as i'll eat any fried fish 24/7) and it was a nice little free dish, but the actual fish they served was only "eh"...

              -- re: SDB-cooked-at-home, send me a PM, and i can give you recipes for Quasi-SDB-cooked-by-Caucasians (like myself) :)

              1. re: Simon

                Oh I thought BCD's fried fish was delicious. I love that kind of stuff, fried fishy-fish banchan. I got a great version at Chunju Han-ilkwan in L.A. and I was in heaven.

                I'll shoot you an e-mail now, thanks!

                1. re: uwsister

                  Me too. As a Korean, I am not really satisfied with the overall quality of Korean food at Korean restaurants in NYC, but I liked BCD's fried fish as well as their oyster kimchi! So delicious~~~!

                  1. re: kosmose7

                    Maybe it's a Korean thing, LOL. My husband always jokes about me liking fishy-fish. He'll be like "yeah, take a mackarel and let it sit for three days, and she'll love it! If it smells like cat food, she'll love it!" Ha.

                    Yeah, I'm not satisfied with Korean food in NYC either but I try not to bitch about it too much. Could be worse - like Boston. Fortunately I go to L.A. and D.C area with frequency so I get to have my fix then - and I *know* you get your fix often in Korea, lucky you! ;)

                  2. re: uwsister

                    What kind of fish was that? I liked that as well and was sad to see BCD vacate that spot. The one in Sunnyside is Natural Tofu, which had a branch on 32nd St. but now it's called Seoul Garden.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      No way - really? Natural Tofu is where I'm talking about, but I thought Seoul Garden's SDB was really underwhelming, average at best. Surprised to hear they are connected!

                      1. re: uwsister

                        Yeah, we were underwhelmed with Seoul Garden as well. We went there thinking it was Natural Tofu. I think it's a different place altogether now vs. the Natural Tofu in Sunnyside. Not sure.

            2. re: uwsister

              Gahm Mi Oak's bin dae duk is also much better than the other ones in the town. I think their pancakes are just made with mung beans versus a mung bean and wheat flour mixture. So the texture is crispier and heartier. They also make it to order so it will be fresh. Their bi bim bap (not stone pot) is also pretty good -- lots of sesame oil!

              1. re: Miss Needle

                Bin dae duk sounds delicious! I'll have to try that. I'm pretty partial to stone pot bibimbap though, it's that crispy rice bits.

                1. re: uwsister

                  Kori in Tribeca makes very good bibimbap, and the best seafood pancake (jun) i've ever had.

          2. I continue to enjoy 32 W 32nd St. I don't remember the name. I've tried to newer fancy looking places and they don't stack up to this place. Also, this is the only place in Manhattan that does BBQ with real coals ( not gas). I enjoy the oxtail dish they have , as well as many of the stews. I also like the raw beef dish.

            3 Replies
            1. re: foodwhisperer

              Yes! NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kalbi! I do not consider Kalbi broiled with anything other than real coals true Kalbi at all, and that's why I like that place too! Some 30 years ago, there used to be only first floor serving Kom Tang (beef bone/ oxtail soup), and they opened the second floor Kalbi section in mid-80s when I was a student in New York. It was the second Korean restaurant in NYC that did BBQ with real coals back then (First one, called 'Min Sok Gung', closed down not long after they had opened). This place is currently the oldest Korean restaurant on 32nd Street.

              1. re: kosmose7

                Yes! Nothing like leaving the restaurant smelling like KBBQ and charcoal (I'm not being sarcastic at all, BTW.)

                1. re: kosmose7

                  I may go their tonite, i'm feeling like smelling of coals