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Aug 28, 2013 09:42 AM

Korean BBQ in Manhattan - Need Opinions

This month's 'Food Crave' selection among my friends is Korean BBQ. The only rule is that it has to be in Manhattan - some of my Manhattan friends are disturbingly adverse to leaving the borough so Flushing is out. I have 10 finalists, although if there is an overwhelming write-in choice you can pick that as well. I need to narrow it to down 3. Help!

In alphabetical order:

1. Don's Bogam BBQ
2. Kang Suh
3. Kum Gang San
4. Kun Jip
5. Madangsui
6. Miss Korea
7. Muk Eun Ji
8. New Wonjo Restaurant
9. Seoul Garden
10. Shilla



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  1. last I checked 32 W 32nd St was the only place in Manhattan using coals and not gas.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      I agree with foodwhisperer.

      I am a Korean and when I crave Korean BBQ (especially bone-in Kalbi), I go to the second floor of 32 W 32nd St. called "NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kalbi". They have better seasoning (and yes, a little but not strong MSG taste as well, lol) and offer real charcoal.

      I personally do not like Shilla, which I think is crappy. But then, most Korean restaurants in Manhattan are plain average at best, unfortunately.

      1. re: kosmose7

        Thanks Kosmose for the name of the place. It's a "catchy" name. I haven't eaten much Korean BBQ lately, mostly eating stews and whole fish. I love Korean food, I had a good meal in Ft Lee but I forgot the name, also went to a good place in Queens with a Korean friend of mine, and had charcoal bbq, but she had to ask for that, as some of the tables had gas.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Ha ha you are welcome. Yes, the name is really hard to remember and I even had to look it up.

        2. re: kosmose7

          Shilla is better for non-barbecue dishes. i really like their jaeyook kimchi bokum and kong biji.

          1. re: coasts

            I tried Kalbi and naeng myun at Shilla when my mom visited NY from Korea last year and at first bite, we both looked at each other and we were gathering our brows. Their side dishes were also pretty bad. We didn't try jaeyook kimchi bokum and kong biji though.

            1. re: coasts

              I didn't think Shilla was good for anything except very low priced lunches.

              Madangsui is also a branch of a NJ place. They use quality meat.

        3. Definitely not Kunjip or Seoul Garden for BBQ. My 3 would be Wonjo (charcoal grills), Don's Bogam (good but don't like the untraditional watery ssamjjang), Madangsui (good variety of quality meat). With that said, I think the BBQ is pretty solid at Kang Suh and Kum Gang San too.

          1. Nowadays we eat Korean pretty often (and cook the basic dishes at home). We generally most prefer Madansui all around. We often find, as noted, that getting one spot to do everything well is difficult.

            1. Won Jo located at 23 W 32 is my go to place. They use real charcoal to bbq their meats at your table-sometimes nerve wracking to see them transport coals from tables. The 2nd floor is where the bbq action goes on. I really like all the side dishes they provide as well. I think I speak with authority on this subject as I am Korean American brought up in household of commercially produced Korean foods. Best to call for reservations esp evening hours. Get quite crowded but they are pretty on time when you have a reservation.

              1 Reply
              1. re: UES Mayor

                though i haven't been to Won jo in awhile, I too liked Won jo vs other popular korean bbq place. I should give NY kom tang a try.

              2. Places you mentioned in ktown:
                - Don Bogam: Generally they are decent, not amazing, but decent. One of the better places in ktown. I think their wine marinated sam gyup sal is the best BBQ item on the menu.
                - Madangsui: When they originally opened I thought they were doing the best job in ktown, but the last few times i went there i thought it was pretty whatever
                - Seoul Garden: awful, don't go for BBQ. They are a soon doo boo specialist anyhow (although their soon doo boo is just ok)
                - Miss Korea: I have not eaten here, but I've got some friends who like it
                - New Wonjo: I used to think it was pretty bad, but they changed mgmt and I have some friends who said the food is much improved since then. Although i have not eaten here since the mgmt change
                - Others you mentioned: pretty mediocre

                Stuff you didn't mention:
                - Gaonnuri: This is strictly for kalbi. They have by far the best quality kalbi meat in ktown. It is more expensive, but the restaurant itself is lightyears nicer than any other restaurant in ktown and has an amazing view (call ahead and reserve a table by the window...well worth it)- NY Komtang: as kosmose7 mentioned, this place is generally fairly decent although I haven't been in a while and they do use charcoal
                - Hanjoo: this is the St Marks branch of a flushing restaurant that I like. They specialize in sam gyup sal and do it much better than any of the ktown restaurants. I would def try here for sam gyup sal
                - Takashi: while technically not korean, it is japanese yakiniku which is the japanese version of Korean BBQ. While it is much more expensive (a bit overpriced), it is way way better than any of the korean bbq places