Kum Gang San Manhattan vs. Flushing
My daughter is a Korean adoptee and we are bringing her and a group of friends down from CT for a Korean BBQ feast for her sweet 16 party. We have decided on Kum Gang San because it seems to have the coolest atmosphere, and the food sounds like it is good, even if it is not the absolute best in NYC. Any opinions on whether the Flushing or the Manhattan location would be better for something like this? Atmosphere trumps all here. On the one hand, Manhattan is cool, but we will not have a lot of time to walk around anyway. On the other hand, Flushing has some all night Korean groceries nearby, which she and the others would enjoy, and is a little easier to get in and out of from CT. Thoughts?
The best Korean BBQs in New York are in Flushing, and it's not even Kum Gang San. :-)
More to the point, Kum Gang San in Flushing beats their Manhattan branch for meat quality. There is good parking, etc, etc. And of course, both Paris Baguette and Tous Les Jours (Korean coffee places) are within a block from each other, across the parking lot. :-)
Um... nothing really. It looks nice, but I prefer Paris Baguette, and I often bring in a few items from FayDa across the street.
A poster (below) recommended TLJ or PB in Manhattan for coffee/dessert, and I noted that they are in Flushing too, conveniently located, and not inferior in quality.
The bottom line is, it definitely makes sense to come to Flushing for BBQ/dinner.
I think with little walking-around time the Manhattan location would be better - there's more to check out in the immediate vicinity, and the Han Ah Reum grocery a couple doors down is open til midnight if you want to pick up fun stuff there, though it's not as large as some of the Flushing groceries there's a good selection.
Also, KSG Manhattan has the whole goofy white-piano-on-a-cliff decor. So, y'know, there's that.
Traffic / parking would be the only reason I'd favor Flushing - but if you're coming in from CT, you can always park in Stamford or Greenwich and take the Metro-North from there, KSG is maybe a 15 minute walk from Grand Central, or you can take the 6 train one stop to 33rd St. I think the last return train is 1:53 AM most nights.
Having just eaten at Kum Kang San in Flushing, I'd advise you to stay far away. A group of us had at least four different dishes, all bad.
I also just at Tang, which apparently is another Gahm Mi Oak in Fresh Meadows. Much better meal in pretty slick setting. Lots of Korean businesses nearby, but I don't know how you'd get here without a car.
If you eat at Ktown in Manhattan, pop into a place like Paris Baguette, Tous Les Jours or Grace Street for dessert and coffee! Very Korean.
I've eaten at both locations and I would pick the Flushing location. There is parking, it's a much larger restaurant/better for a group also the ventilation is better. I always feel like I've been drenched in charcoal and beef drippings after leaving korean bbq restaurants in Manhattan.
Depending on when you finish dinner, there are bubble tea places that are open pretty late and are fun to visit before you head back.
I made an account just to reply. I can finally contribute!!! I belong to a large Korean family that lives in lower NY. Whenever we go out for Korean food we always go to Bayside/Flushing.
I cannot recommend going to Manhattan just for Korean food. It is usually pretty bad.
I have been to Kum Gang San (Flushing) a few times over the years. It is a really nice building. They made it to look like a traditional Korean building. If atmosphere is the most important factor, I can't think of another place that tries to capture a traditional Korean setting. The food is ok at best. This place is known more as a venue than a place to get good Korean food. This is based off of my experiences going to the event area. The main restaurant space may be different.
I can recommend a couple of places that have good food, but they have little to no ambiance.
Karaoke is always fun to do afterwards, but that depends on how much time ya'll have.
Kum Gang San really isn't too good, food-wise. I've been to both and neither is really that nice looking. The Flushing one does NOT look like the website. Supposedly they're opening another location near Rockefeller Center.
In Manhattan, Don's Bogam has better food and a better party atmosphere. At least it's dark, unlike Kum Gang San. The second floor at Shilla is also decent looking.
It's worth mentioned Gaonnuri in Manhattan. It has gorgeous views of the city from the 39th floor. I don't know if they could accommodate a big group and it's a bit pricey, but look it up.
I would say they are both equal. Manhattan is cooler (including just walking down 32nd street and going to Han Ah Reum and whichever bakery afterwards). It's concentrated Korean.
Flushing is much more spread out, so while parking is plentiful, it's basically loading everyone into a car and taking them to the next location. As you said, you won't be staying out late, so could be a none factor.
Food quality is better in Flushing, but for newbies/uninitiated, I think it's marginal.
Kum Gang San is cool.