Mokyo in East Village

I was blown away by the food at Mokyo, a Korean / Asian small plates restaurant in the East Village. I wasn’t prepared to like it so much. In fact, I was ready to write it off as one of those dime-a-dozen East Village bars that cater to the young drinking crowd, where trendy Instagrammable drinks take priority over really good food. I was so wrong. I loved everything I ate–flavor AND style are prioritized here–and I can truly say it is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

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Jua Restaurant Review in Flatiron

Finally, a Korean restaurant breaks into my top 10 restaurants list. I had a very impressive meal at Jua, the new fine dining Korean restaurant run by Chef Hoyoung Kim, who used to be the executive chef at Jungsik. The nine course Jua tasting menu consisted of Korean dishes that I grew up eating, only fancier and better. The cooking was on par with what we expect from a highly esteemed Western restaurant. It makes me proud of how far Korean food has come in extending its reach far beyond just the humble bbq restaurant (which is still awesome) and joining the ranks of elite institutions, a status that tends to be reserved for the fancy European place or the pricey sushi omakase.

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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