Korean food is good for the soul and packs a heavy punch, but sometimes we want something with a lighter touch. For those of us who want to finish our jeongol hot pots with a little room to spare, you should probably walk past the main cluster of traditional restaurants in Ktown and head to Her Name is Han near Madison and 31st. You might miss it initially, because Her Name is Han doesn’t look like a traditional Korean restaurant. It has more in common with the picturesque, brick-wall eateries in West Village or Nolita, but once you notice the mostly Millennial-aged Koreans queuing up for a table, you’ll know you’re at the right place.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the seafood hot pot, a nourishing dish with a broth that is spicy and chock full of seafood, veggies and mandoo dumplings. The flavors are much smoother than what you find in other typically spicy and hearty Korean broths like soondooboo or kimchi chigae. The heat is more mild and any funkiness from the fermented bean paste or gochujang have been smoothed away. It goes down pretty easy, but it doesn’t quite leave its mark like a more traditional broth would. You won’t crave it, necessarily, but you’ll appreciate the lighter option.
If you come to Her Name is Han for brunch, you can order individual sized portions of their different soups, which will come with a small selection of high quality banchan. A lot of it is traditional like kimchee and pickled radish, but the scotch egg was a pleasant surprise. A brunch here is a nice change of pace from the usual eggs and toast that are on offer at other restaurants, and again, because the flavors are light and the seasonings are not heavy handed, you’ll leave here feeling good, unlike those late night post karaoke Ktown meals that are the norm.
Her Name is Han
17 E 31st St (between 5th and Madison Ave)
New York, NY 10016