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Korean BBQ in Manhattan - Need Opinions

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BigV Aug 28, 2013 09:42 AM

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

Thanks!

Jason

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    foodwhisperer RE: BigV Aug 28, 2013 10:11 AM

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer
      kosmose7 RE: foodwhisperer Aug 28, 2013 10:25 AM

      +1
      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
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        foodwhisperer RE: kosmose7 Aug 28, 2013 12:49 PM

        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
          kosmose7 RE: foodwhisperer Aug 28, 2013 07:58 PM

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

        2. re: kosmose7
          coasts RE: kosmose7 Aug 28, 2013 07:46 PM

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

          1. re: coasts
            kosmose7 RE: coasts Aug 28, 2013 07:57 PM

            Really?
            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
              Peter Cuce RE: coasts Aug 29, 2013 04:25 AM

              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. e
          erha RE: BigV Aug 28, 2013 11:04 AM

          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. c
            comiendosiempre RE: BigV Aug 28, 2013 06:31 PM

            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.

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              UES Mayor RE: BigV Aug 29, 2013 04:02 AM

              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
                Monica RE: UES Mayor Aug 29, 2013 08:03 AM

                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. l
                Lau RE: BigV Aug 29, 2013 08:25 AM

                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
                https://www.lauhound.com/2013/03/han-...
                - 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
                https://www.lauhound.com/2011/04/taka...

                1. c
                  chewhard RE: BigV Aug 29, 2013 12:48 PM

                  Definitely Takashi. It's Japanese Yakinuku w/ bunch of raw stuff (Yooke is sick), but it beats any Korean BBQ place in NYC b/c there's none that's good

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chewhard
                    kosmose7 RE: chewhard Aug 29, 2013 04:38 PM

                    Takashi's chef owner, Takashi Inoue is a third generation Korean Japanese and he incorporates Korean flavors into his cooking nicely.

                  2. b
                    BigV RE: BigV Sep 5, 2013 03:12 PM

                    Miss Korea got 2 votes, Madangsui got 2, New Wonjo got 1...tiebreaker went to Miss Korea. We'll be trying it Sep 9. Will report back then.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: BigV
                      squid kun RE: BigV Sep 5, 2013 11:58 PM

                      Just what did you folks like about Miss Korea and Madangsui? What put Miss Korea over the top? Hard to assess this info given only vote counts.

                      1. re: squid kun
                        Peter Cuce RE: squid kun Sep 8, 2013 05:42 AM

                        I tried Miss Korea last night. While it's a stylish, attractive spot, the things we tried were nothing special. Someone told a Korean friend of mine that the Gopchang Jeongol (Beef Intestine & Tripe Soup) was better there than at a place we had had it in NJ called Chung Dam Dong - 청담동, but not only was that not the case, Miss Korea's version seriously lacked depth, with a thin, tasteless soup, and the rice cakes and noodles were overcooked. The BBQ was fine. I did enjoy their bok choy kimchi banchan - crisp texture and slightly spicy flavor.
                        We were seated on the 3rd Floor and we noticed on the way out that all the foreign/white-only groups were seated in a front area that was separated from the rest of restaurant. I guess I escaped this fate by being with a Korean man and Taiwanese woman.
                        Afterward we went across the street to Grace Street, an attractive, spacious coffee shop/cafe with a fairly serious coffee menu, although execution needs work. They are justifiably famous for their take on hotteok, although I still prefer the more traditional ones at Pajunia in Jackson Heights (and they're way cheaper).

                        1. re: Peter Cuce
                          u
                          UES Mayor RE: Peter Cuce Sep 9, 2013 04:05 AM

                          Miss Korea has a 3rd floor? I been there and never knew it had a 2nd floor let alone a 3rd floor! How could I have missed??

                    2. b
                      BigV RE: BigV Sep 25, 2013 03:09 PM

                      Miss Korea won and was solid. I picked Madangsui personally but I was out-voted :)

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