Thursday, April 7, 2011
Among all the Korean enclaves around the world K-Town in Manhattan must be the tiniest. It is basically one block of the West 32th street (signposted as the Korea Way), a stone's throw away from the Empire State Building and thus, not residential :)
If you are really interested into authentic food or in meeting locals it is recommended to go to Flushing, Queens where owing to a vast Korean American community traditional gastronomy is said to be cheaper and better. But if you are lazy and lacking time the Manhattan site is the most convenient and dense conglomeration of inexpensive service facilities: an abundant grocery store (a bit chaotic appearance but they sell fresh banchan and kimchi to take), cosmetic stores, "fancy stores" (if you are not Korean, you won't need these :), book stores, beauty salons, bakeries, a mandoo bar, karaoke bars, restaurants... all open until late.
This is my list of tried and approved eateries:
1. Third Floor Cafe: A tasty Kimchi Boggeum Bab (stir fried rice) and a Watermelon Martini for 12 $ during Happy Hour. The best ambience.
2. Shilla: Mul Naeng Myun (cold noodles) and vegetable dumplings (don't forget to order the steamed version, not the fried one as I did!).
3. Kunjip: Galbi Gui (marinated beef short rips bbq), Hae Mul Pa Jun (Seafood pancake), Soon Doo Boo Chigae (silken tofu stew) and Bibimbap.
Inexpensive, tasty and everything comes with a lot of banchans.
Cannot recommend Dduk Boki there though (sauce is not well balanced).
4. Koryodang: If you have never had Korean pastries, you should. Consistency of the dough is much lighter and just really different. Here I was introduced to Chabssal Donut which turned out to be a curse (way too addictive). Or go to the rival.
Cannot recommend the Patbingsu (shaved ice) because of too little azuki bean sauce.
5. Last but not least Mé Bar. This is a tiny hidden roof top bar and the most relaxed of this sort. Can recommend the Pomegranate Martini.