Modern Korean at Soogil

sweet potato beignets

Here’s another elevated Korean restaurant to add to your list–Soogil in East Village, opened by Soogil Kim, who used to be sous chef at some very fancy kitchens, including Daniel and Hanjan. If you’re a fan of the refined and modern Korean cooking at places like Oiji or Cote, then you’ll probably like Soogil’s food.Read More

Tofu Tofu, Korean Restaurant in Chinatown

banchan at tofu tofu

It’s unheard of to see a traditional Korean restaurant operating in Manhattan outside of 32nd St, so imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Tofu Tofu in Chinatown of all places. Not that taking the train up to Herald Square is all that inconvenient, but walking 10 minutes along Bowery to a Korean restaurant downtown has been the best thing ever. Of course, the meat here will not be on par with the bbq at a place like Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, but that’s ok. You come here because Tofu Tofu has a good selection of Korean favorites at very reasonable prices and it’s the only place downtown.Read More

Jeju Noodle Bar in West Village

For me, Korean ramen “ramyun” noodles are so closely tied to the fiery bowls of cheap Shin ramyun that I ate growing up, so when I heard that an elevated Korean ramyun restaurant called Jeju Noodle Bar had opened in the West Village, I rolled my eyes. Great, I guess that means I get to pay $20 for a dainty and soulless bowl of expensive, artisanal ingredients that will never satisfy me the way those Shin noodles did. And no offense to Pete Wells, but when the white critics started raving about Jeju, I was even more suspicious. It was probably best to stay far away.Read More

Cote, a Korean Steakhouse in Flatiron

cote nyc, the new korean kid in town

Depending on how you see it, the name of the restaurant Cote can either reference the Korean word for flower or a particular cut of meat. If Cote had its way, it’d want you to reference both. It occupies a unique niche as a hybrid steakhouse and Korean bbq restaurant, never fully claiming one or the other, defined by fluidity rather than labels.

the name cote in millennial korean pink
american psycho or the dry-aging room?

From the moment you walk in, Cote keeps you guessing. The entrance leads to a dark blue hallway with a neon sign of the restaurant’s name in Korean lit in Millennial pink, giving off a vibe that’s more sexy Meatpacking lounge than staid Midtown East. If you walk downstairs you can see Cote’s dry-aging room, where different pieces of meat hang stylistically in lighting that brings to mind the surreal and violent thriller Neon Demon. Once you get seated in one of the booths in the back, you will see familiar signs of a table-top grill, but even so, these grills are gold and silent, sucking the smoke and smells out of sight, out of mind.Read More

Korean Banchan at Atoboy

atoboy place settings

At the core of a Korean meal is rice and banchan side dishes. The quality and variety of banchan can really make or break your experience. I know it’s going to be a good day when a restaurant throws in a steamed egg or pan-fried tofu, and on the flipside, it’s always a sad day when all I get is kimchee and some limp┬ábean sprouts. Atoboy, a new restaurant in Flatiron run by Junghyun Park, the former Chef de Cuisine of Jungsik, rethinks the banchan side dish as the main dish, where you can make a meal out of several of them. The menu is divided into three sections of small plates, which is differentiated by portion size, and for $36 you can pick a dish from each one of the sections along with a bowl of rice, the traditional white rice or the rice special of the day for an extra $2. As an fyi, you really should pay up for the rice special, otherwise you will miss out on something amazing like the bacon and scallion rice.Read More