Korean Food in NYC/NJ

Discussion in 'Food & Travel' started by Matt in the Hat, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Korean in Manhattan? Head to Fort Lee.
     
  2. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Why - do you know some good places?

    I actually work near Fort Lee and ridiculously haven't explored much - but while I've heard Flushing is the best place, I haven't noticed any profound differences in the places I've tried in all three. My guess is that in a place like Fort Lee you can get more crazy cheap authentic places - 32nd in Manhattan is probably a little pricier because of the rents, but still great.

    Matrim - You have got to get the real thing if you like Brooklyn Korean so much. The sides on 32nd street are much much better and the food is too. Seriously, you gotta go there asap.

    I used to be more of a purist, but for BBQ, the best places are the places that don't use gas grills - and opt for coal - although in all these places you come away smoky. When ordering BBQ - I prefer Kalbi (short ribs) over other options, and usually there is a house special marinated version that's pretty good.

    Back when I was going regularly, the hippest place was Kunjip - the atmosphere isn't the greatest, but they have really good food, although not so much of a BBQ place. Order the mackerel (i believed it's grilled and comes with a soup on the side - it's great), the ojing bokkum (or other bokkum if you don't like squid), the samgyeopsal (if you like pork belly - it's a big slab of delicious grilled bacon that you dip in salt and other spices), kimchi jigae (you have to try this at least once, it's a kimchi stew that will knock your socks off - and it's good too), maybe a seafood pajun (pancake), and they also make a good bulgogi. Chap chae (sp? - glass/potato noodle dish) is another thing folks like to order, although I can take it or leave it. For drink, order the dongdongju - a milky sake like drink they serve to you in a big ceramic bowl (and it's always good for a few "dong juice" jokes), and a bottle of bekseju which is a korean wine related to soju but with a hint of ginseng. Great stuff.

    If you are in a group that likes better atmosphere, go to KumGangSan, a chain that is always decent - I like their seafood pancakes. For a coal bbq, I'll have to jog my memory because I can't remember the names of them. I think there is one across from KumGangSan.
     
  3. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Dae GA - Korean restaurant which specializes in Korean barbecue. Must Go!
    2053 Lemoine Ave
    (201) 944-8699

    Great Wall of China Restaurant - Koreanized Chineese
    2024 Center Ave
    (201) 944-4242

    Forte Cafe - Korean Restaurant
    2139 Hudson Ter
    (201) 592-1127

    Koreana Restaurant - Korean Restaurant
    1550 Lemoine Ave
    (201) 585-9115
     
  4. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Cool - I'll try to check them out - although most of the Korean places I've seen on Lemoine are sort of the big flashy kind. I'm especially intrigued by the Koreanized Chinese place. What's up with Forte Cafe? It isn't BBQ?

    Have you been to the new Korean fried chicken place that just has wings in spicy or soy? It's on Lemoine near Linwood plaza.

    There are a lot of places over on Broad I think - been over there? I've tried one hole in the wall that had no English menu, but it was more economical than anything exceptional.
     
  5. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    It's been a while since I was at Forte Cafe and at the time ist was more hole in the wall, no barbecue. Me and Mrs. Hat plan on trying So Kong Dong on main St. by the Borders this weekend

    Haven't been to the chicken place yet.

    Also, have you been out to Grand Ave yet? It may actually Pallesades Park at that point but the place is littered with all sorts of Korean places of all shapes and sizes.
     
  6. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Those Korean chicken places have had a mini-boom in the area - you definitely should try the spicy wings for a party or something. I personally love the radish you get with it but not sure it's for everyone.

    Where on Grand Avenue? If you are in Jersey City, wouldn't it be easier to go in to Korea Town on 32nd and Broadway? :)

    I'm going to split this off to it's own thread.
     
  7. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    I'm moving to Ft. Lee as we speak.
     
  8. otterulz

    otterulz Member

    Arsenal, Atleti
    South Korea
    Jun 20, 2002
    LIC, NY
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    If you want lunch, most Korean places will have a simple lunch box that includes some soup, already prepared slices of kalbi, maybe some dumplings, and a couple pieces of sushi along with some pan-chan (Korean sides). But you're usually better off getting neng-myun (thin buckwheat noodles in broth and veggies) or bi-bim-bap (rice with veggies mixed with spicy paste).

    Also remember that just because one Korean restaurant might use wood chips to cook the meat doesn't mean it tastes better over gas grills.

    If you want good Korean, I'd hit Flushing over the city. Even if you're not in the mood for bbq, you can find a place to give you a hearty portion of noodles or whatever else for a decent price. And the bigger Korean places usually don't taste as good. Look for the smaller, unassuming places.
     
  9. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    I think Neng myun is cold noodles. I'm a fan, but sometimes it can be a little bland - it's a North Korean dish I believe.

    I actually started a new thread for NYC Korean food discussion. Someone on that thread said don't go to the city - go to Fort Lee. I see no reason to favor Flushing or Fort Lee over 32nd Street - unless you can suggest mind blowing places that are much better than Kunjip or Wonjo, etc. that justify the trek to Flushing. 32nd is perfectly fine for good Korean food.
     
  10. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Someone talking about Korean food on the other thread reminded me of a raw beef salad dish which is great. I can't remember what it's called - maybe it's Yookhwe?
     
  11. Labdarugo

    Labdarugo Member

    Dec 3, 2000
    Downwind
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There are two places that I like. Both are in K-town (W. 32nd St.) but neither is a "typical" Korean place with the barbecue and the galbi and bulgogi...

    The first is a vegetarian place that is really something special. Delicious food, very calming atmosphere. Great place to go if you want to hang out with someone special.

    Hangawi

    The second place just serves dumplings, freshly made. An energetic little hole in the wall place ful of young Koreans. Casual and reasonable.

    Mandoo Bar
     
  12. otterulz

    otterulz Member

    Arsenal, Atleti
    South Korea
    Jun 20, 2002
    LIC, NY
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For Korean chicken wings, there's a place in Fort Lee called Boom Boom Chicken, right by Gam Mi Ok (which also has a location in K-Town known for there sul-lung-ttang). I don't remember the exact location but I think it's on Main St. Better than Bon Chon, Kye Dong, or Kyo Chon, which are the other main chicken places. If Boom Boom isn't an option, I think Bon Chon is the next best. Their batter is very light and crispy. The rest are very mediocre and not very flavorful. At least that's the case with the ones in Flushing.

    If you want really good sam-gyup-ssal, go to Ham Ji Bak in Bayside, right next to Staples. I'm sure it's a bit of a trek for most but they fry them on a round stone plate and provide thin slices of moo (sweet horse radish). By far the best I've had. As for kalbi, I honestly don't believe they're better or worse by gas or coal. It's all in the marinade.

    There's a place on Palisade Ave. called Mandangsui, near the Commerce Bank. Actually going there with my family on Saturday for dinner. Their kalbi is good but their mok-ssal (marinated neck meat) is great. They also have good kalbi bi-bim-bap for lunch.

    Don't go to places like Dae Dong or Kum Kang San. While they might be bigger and nicer in terms of aesthetics and decor, the food is never as good.
     
  13. otterulz

    otterulz Member

    Arsenal, Atleti
    South Korea
    Jun 20, 2002
    LIC, NY
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Ahh, Koreana is now known as San Chun Restaurant. It's inside Fort Lee Plaza, a little shopping center that my father happens to own. The food there is decent although there is much better. Of course, we get treated real well when we go so, hey. ;)

    There's also a Korean/Chinese restaurant inside Fort Lee Plaza as well called Chew Young Roo. Their dishes are pretty good if you like jajangmyun, tang-soo-yook, and the rest of them. Their steamed bun dumplings are great. Great place for lunch. And remember that Korean/Chinese restaurants are all Korean owned. I don't quite know the origins of the food, but I think it's Korean food with a heavy Chinese influence, although that's quite noticeable when you order. But you won't find your typical bbq there.

    And good luck with your move, Matty. I quit my job there so I guess there's no chance we ever run into each other!
     
  14. The Double

    The Double Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 11, 2002
    Denver
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    So how's Mrs. Hat going to feel when her husband and a 20 year old get drunk on her couch and watch Mets games?
     
  15. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Is this BaySide Queens? I can't believe you are telling me this now! :) I had good friends who actually love sam-gyup-ssal and I used to go visit them in Bayside. They have since moved to Long Island - but I might have to go for a Donovan Burger and some SamGyupSal. Great tip - thanks.

    I totally disagree - especially if you can eat outdoors.

    Any other recommendations in Fort Lee area?

    I disagree again - for relative newbies to Korean food, these are fun and easy places to go and the aesthetics and decor make a big difference. Even though I think the food is better at Kunjip, I'll often take people to places like Kum Gang San because the atmosphere is so much better. And the food isn't bad - and for most white devils, too authentic can be daunting.
     
  16. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Are you my cousin Ron :D?

    She will probably feel the same as when I get drunk and pass out with her step dad watching River Plate matches.
     
  17. Matrim55

    Matrim55 Member+

    Aug 14, 2000
    Berkeley
    Club:
    Connecticut
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Litigious?
     
  18. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    I'm actually not a big Hangawi fan. If you are a vegetarian and like that atmosphere, I can see liking it, but for quality Korean, I'm not so sure.

    I go to Mandoo bar sometimes too - the owner owns a couple other Korean places - but they serve other things besides dumplings all of which are hit or miss, IMO. For this kind of quick no frills Korean food, there's a place called YangPyong I think on 33rd which I like.
     
  19. otterulz

    otterulz Member

    Arsenal, Atleti
    South Korea
    Jun 20, 2002
    LIC, NY
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yep, right on Northern Blvd. Definitely check it out when you get a chance. It is a little bit nicer in terms of aesthetics but I like the food. When my family and I lived in Little Neck, this was our number one place to go for a few years.
    I respect your opinion. Just don't be fooled by how it's grilled. I feel like a lot of people tend to think just because it's grilled on gas, it's not as good. But really, a lot of it for me has to do with how well it's marinated.
    Geez, I'm so bad with remembering Korean names that I can't tell you anything detailed. A good lunch place is this place right across from Bank of America on Lemoine Ave., next to the little shopping center with Border's and Duane Reade. They have pretty decent jji-gae's. Try their gamja-tang (potato stew). It can be pretty spicy but it's basic and good.

    There's a place on Bergen Blvd., a little further west called ZenZen. They have pretty decent bbq. Not sure if it's past the Ridgefield border. There's also another place right before it on Bergen Blvd. whose name I forgot. They have this dish which I don't know the name of. It's sort of a goat stew that they stir up in a round flat pan thingie on a gas burner. Pretty good.
    Sorry, I'm thinking as a Korean. You could be absolutely right though. My friends don't really care much for Korean so I've never had the opportunity to take them. If they're a little bit more hesitant to try something as different as Korean food, then yeah, places like that are a little bit more inviting, not to mention have menus in English as well. And often times you will find non-Koreans there as well so you might feel more comfortable.

    As for drinks, good call on bekseju. It's sweet and not as harsh as any soju that comes in a green bottle. I like both and have gravitated more towards the green stuff such as chamisool or chumchurum.

    I'll try to add to the list once I remember some other places. Korean food is a lot more diverse than people think and won't always be just bbq. Lots of places specialize in certain items like neng-myun or seafood. Important thing is to keep an open mind. Even growing up around the stuff, I still discover things I've never even heard of. A few months ago, my parents and my aunt took me to a place in Flushing. Their specialty was this raw, fermented sliced fish. Looked good. Looked. The taste and smell were so pungent, I often times still taste it in my mouth when I think about it for too long. There's a reason why they ate it with so much cabbage and kimchi.

    Anyway, hope you guys find this stuff useful.
     
  20. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    So bummed that my friend moved because I would go to Bayside on occasion and now I don't have much reason too - but I'm a big fan of the pork belly so I'll have to make the trip.

    Maybe part of it is psychological, but I still don't think you can get the same smoky flavor with gas as you can with those cocaine coals or whatever they are that get super hot (not sure if they always use these in NYC?). I think my best vacation ever was the 2002 World Cup where I ate kalbi literally every night outside while watching the World Cup on giant plasmas. Then that tofu stew dish with rice and an egg for breakfast - so good....

    Thanks - I've seen that place I think. I'll see if I can get a coworker to go, although getting people excited about Korean stew can be tough. :)

    Any suggestions on Broad or Grand? I am under the impression those are the big strips. I went to a place on Broad that had no English menu and got a good pork bokkum.

    One of the sojus that comes in a green bottle I'm not crazy about, but the basic stuff I like. It's like drinking light vodka, although I have to be careful because it's one of those drinks that doesn't hit you and then hits you all at once - at least for me. There was a drink I had that was similar to Bekseju that I liked, but I have no idea now what the heck it was called or what it tasted like. I need to try to explore more Korean alcohol. Do you like dong dong ju (I think it goes by another name that escapes me)?

    True about being very diverse - I ate at a very fancy Korean place in Seoul and it was a multi-course dinner and to my shock, almost none of it was spicy. One of the best meals I've had. YangPyeon Seoul that I mentioned earlier makes a good version of this soup/stew that has a white pork broth - reminds me a little of Tonkotsu broth - although I usually order it without the tripe.

    It's hard for me to believe now, but I used to not have much of a stomach for Korean food - having a Korean American girlfriend probably helps change perceptions. It's a shame it's a cuisine that is not more mainstream - unfortunately kimchi doesn't always make the best first impression. :)

    I definitely do - I realize posting about this stuff that I definitely get in a rut when it comes to Korean. We have a habit of ordering the same stuff everytime that we like. And I really need to eat more Korean food since I'm working next to Fort Lee.
     
  21. otterulz

    otterulz Member

    Arsenal, Atleti
    South Korea
    Jun 20, 2002
    LIC, NY
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Definitely make the trip if you get a chance. It's well worth it. The thin slices of moo bring an otherwise ordinary meat to a whole new level with the mix of salty and sweet.
    No, it's true. You get more of that smoky flavor with the coal. However, if the marinade isn't good, it just doesn't taste right. Just don't think that all places that use gas grills aren't any good.

    And the traditional way of eating kalbi is to take a big leaf of lettuce they bring out, put some rice in, a piece of kalbi, some spicy paste, and maybe a piece of garlic. Wrap it up nice and shove it into your mouth. And remember to grill the garlic as well!
    I understand. Most people are familiar with Chinese and Japanese food. Yet when it comes to Korean, they have their reservations. Even when Anthony Bourdain went to Korea on No Reservations, he said he wasn't sure at first.
    To be honest, I haven't been to too many places on Broad although that is pretty much the heart and soul of the Korean community in Jersey. There aren't that many places on Grand as you might think, but I did go to this one place that sucked. Again, can't remember the name. There is however a little place that serves a decent lunch box for real cheap. It's next to Subway and a hobby store on Grand, where it forks into Broad Ave.

    Geez, I'm terrible with names.
    Not too sure what dong-dong-ju is. Maybe you're talking about mah-kah-rhee? It's a sort of milk tea like drink with alcohol. I'm not very familiar with Korean booze myself aside from soju and their crap brands of beer. Plus the popular choices amongst Koreans are soju and Johnny black. Very basic.
    Is that suh-lung-ttang you're talking about? It's a white broth with slices of beef, thin noodles, and tripe. You dump your rice in, a bunch of salt, and scallions. If that's what you're thinking of, Gam-Mi-Ok is famous for that. They have a location in Fort Lee but their original one is on 32nd St. and Broadway, next to the Hotel Sanford (which has a great bar with cute Asian bartenders).
    Yeah, you know I was the pickiest eater when I was a kid, and still am to some extent. I didn't even try my first bite of kimchi until a few years ago, even though it's a staple of mine and every other Korean household. There are still tons of things I have to try. But I understand why people are reserved. I don't think most places have the most inviting atmosphere, and it's harder when they don't provide menus with English. But if you keep an open mind and try new things, I'm sure you'll be glad more often than not.
    Eh, I'm purely a meat eater. I've been in that rut since I was a kid and love it.
     
  22. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Yeah - I think that may be the other name. It is a milky drink (not really tea-like - it's like unfiltered sake). I like the stuff, although the alcohol content is low.

    I think that's the stuff and i think I know the place (on 32nd) you are talking about - lots of wood and popular with young people. Not for the faint of heart. Yang Pyong Seoul I mentioned earlier does a good version of it.

    Hmm - only tried kimchi a few years ago! Not even the young person's kimchi - without the red pepper?

    All this talk of Korean food inspired me to go hunting for Korean for dinner - I first went by the well known soft tofu place on Main Street but it was already getting crowded - I tried to find the place you mentioned above that had potato stew - I think it's actually on Main street, not Lemoine? That's where the Bank of America is. They didn't have potato stew on their menu but it did have a Zagat's rating on it's door.

    I settled on the Katsu place on Lemoine across from Borders - since I wanted quick and inexpensive takeout, it fit the bill. I wouldn't call it good food since it was a half step above fast food - but I thoroughly enjoyed my katsu bibimbap. :)
     
  23. Sinko

    Sinko New Member

    Dec 28, 1999
    xalapa ver mx
    Club:
    Harrisburg City Isl.
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    The first Bibimbap I ever had was a Yookhwe Bibimbap in one of those Manhattan K-town sites. Delicious. I figured all Bibimbaps were Yookhwe style. Not that I was disappointed to find that it wasn't the case, but just surprised.

    There's absolutely no Korean food down here in SWFL, which does disappoint me.
     
  24. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Club:
    Leeds United FC
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    Yeah - the first time I had Yookhwe I balked a little bit because the raw meat can be very cold, but boy is it good.

    Where in Florida are you? Surely there has to be a restaurant somewhere! I sometimes forget how lucky I am in this department living in NYC, but still, I would think that we've come a long way from 20 years ago in terms of Asian food outside big urban centers.
     
  25. Sinko

    Sinko New Member

    Dec 28, 1999
    xalapa ver mx
    Club:
    Harrisburg City Isl.
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Brooklyn Recommendations

    I"m in Bonita Springs, located between Naples and Ft Myers... 180 miles due north of Havanna. ;)

    We've got Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Asian Fusion... but no Korean!

    This thread inspired a Korean restaurant search. The nearest ones are in either Tampa-St. Pete or Miami. This morning I asked the gf if she'd like to go to Weston (Miami) on Monday to try this one. While I know nothing of the place other than that site, at least it will help quell the jones that is gnawing at me in large part thanks to this thread.
     

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