New York’s Koreatown has some of the best BBQ restaurants around and today we could confirm that statement. My friend arranged dinner for us at Don’s Bogam BBQ, a favorite for this New York alumni. Little did I know, this was a Michelin Recommended restaurant that, come to think of it, was the first for me when it comes to KBBQ. Wow. A place I go, to gorge on beef, drink lots of beer and soju, celebrate with my friends in the most rambunctious manner and leaving with the sticky film of smoke and garlic. This type of place got the attention of the Michelin peeps. Well, when we got to the restaurant I could see that I was about to up level my KBBQ experience.
The restaurant was like a merger between the traditional and high class dining. We had a few drinks at the fancy bar in front while we waited for everyone to arrive. Table for twelve? Not a problem. However, we had to be split us between two tables of six. Understandable because they are very service driven here. Even though the menu says “Cook your own” the servers do all the cooking for you at your table. So they need the tables to be accessible for the servers. I loved the attention and only had to flag someone down once to, you guessed it, order more of their wonderful beef. Yum!
Expect to stay at least an hour to relax and enjoy your dinner. This isn’t your typical KBBQ place that’s trying to rush people in and out. And although the higher pricing may keep people away, it means you’ll hardly see a line outside. But to be safe, make a reservation.
Don’s Bogam BBQ
17 E 32nd St
New York, NY 10016
+1 (212) 683-2200
Verdict: On the pricey side yet well worth it.
On the list of restaurants to try is Momofuku. If it isn’t on your list, it should be. David Chang has several restaurants in New York with others worldwide, each one catering to a genre in Asian taste. I wouldn’t come close to saying it’s fusion or even experimental. I’d like to think of it as the classic journey of an artist, pushing the boundaries of modern mediums. Here at Ssäm Bar I got my first glimpse into his work.
Reservations were a must, especially with our party of eight. Booking a month advanced, there were two openings, 5:30pm or 10:00pm. Of course the later time worked with our West Coast time frame for dinner. So we chose that. And with our group size, we had to go with the $75 prix fixe menu. There were wine pairing options for an additional price of $50 and up. We decided to order off the drink menu, a decision I personally didn’t regret. I had found myself a new favorite drink!
The courses themselves were brought as plates for sharing, family style. Something we weren’t quite expecting, but we’re all friends here. So that didn’t stop us from enjoying every spoonful. Each dish was brought out all at once so no one was left waiting for their dish. The staff was well synchronized on that. However, dinner was long and spanned over 2 hours. It was a good two hours though. By the end of it, we were so stuffed, I forgot to take pictures of the dessert, a Trifle – honey ice cream topped with broken bits of deep fried mantou. Oh it was so amazing that our typical non-dessert eaters were caught finishing the bowl.
Yeah, I loved it, even though half the dishes were a miss for me. Setting aside all the hype, I have to admit, each dish was unique. They were taste combinations I’m not going to easily find, except at other Momofuku restaurants. Great. Did I just sign myself up for more adventures? I better start making reservations.
Ssäm Bar – Momofuku
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
+1 (212) 254-3500
Verdict: Come with a small group to order off the menu or a larger one to try the pork shoulder. I’ll see you next time pork shoulder!
It was time for dinner and what else to have but steak. New York has some of the best steakhouses in the country. And if you were to ask anyone for a recommendation, you’ll be overwhelmed with the variety. Thankfully, my friend already had one picked out and I tagged along for dinner. The place was Peter Luger, a Michelin star restaurant famous for it large porthouse aged steaks.
When you get inside it’s pretty busy. With the bar right at the entrance, most people are having a drink while waiting for a table. Make a reservation to avoid the wait. We waited for only ten minutes while things were being set up. The table itself was big enough for the four of us. After a brief look over the menu, we knew what we wanted and ordered. Our appetizers came out minutes after went through a few of their assorted breads. Don’t worry, we know not to fill ourselves up before getting to the enormous steak. That was the main objective. But there were some nice bites along the way and you can see those in the food pictures. Throughout the meal, the wait staff were attentive making sure we had our dessert and coffee. It was a complete meal that took an hour and a half to finish. That’s a good thing. We never felt like we were rushed, even with the crowds outside.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
+1 (718) 387-7400
Verdict: A great steakhouse that combines tradition and great cuts of meat for an amazing experience.
After getting situated in Chelsea it was time to find a bite to eat. Being close to Madison Square Gardens you’re surrounded by plenty of places to eat. However, if you just came off a red eye flight, took the train to Penn Station, and were still on West Coast hours, you’re probably looking for a lighter meal. I found that at Cafe Hanamizuki, a quaint little restaurant surrounded by the less refined shops catering to the eat and go lunch crowds.
Inside you’re greeted by a bright interior leading up to the register. There’s several small tables for more intimate gatherings and stools against the wall table for those dining in singularity. It’s not your sit and be waited on type of place, even though when you pay you’ll be prompted for a tip. But there was someone going around cleaning up, so hopefully that was for them.
The food is already prepared and ready so all you have to do is pick and choose, pay, and find a seat. I think the lunch set was the right size of soup, side dish, and onigiri.
143 W 29th Street
New York, NY 10001
Chelsea, Midtown West
+1 (212) 695-5533
Verdict: If you’re looking for a light meal and don’t mind the prices, give it a try. But it’s price point wasn’t worth it.