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THE BEST: Manhattan Korean


DonWalsh x
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Then a huge boat full of Sashimi arrived on the table.  Now I've had some great sashimi here and some less than great.Friday night the fish was excellent. the boat had Toro,Hamachi,Fluke,Tuna,Salmon, Uni,White? Tuna and a few other pieces. Very fresh. The sushi chef then sent up some speacial plates of sweet shrimp covered with a chili sauce. I didn't like it. Followed by some seared scallops w/black pepper.

Click here for a past thread on WHITE TUNA

Edited by richw (log)

South Florida

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  • 5 months later...

Raw fish, called 'hwe', is a traditional korean food, especially in the Pusan area. If you see 'sashimi' on a Korean menu, they may just be trying to come up with a term that's more familiar in the U.S., so it's not necessarily Japanese food.

I don't think I've ever seen fin fish grilled at the table in Korea, which means it's either not done or it's uncommon. I've seen shrimp, octopus, scallops (on the half shell) and variety of other sea foods grilled up, though.

A good place to go is the new one recently reviewed in the NYT, 36-92. The chal dol baeki is excellent.

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  • 6 months later...

I went to Woo Lae Ok several months ago, I guess. It's the sister restaurant to Dok Suni's, which is right around the corner from me. I thought the quality of the food was about the same, as were the prices (c. $20-25 for dinner). Good food, nice ambiance, but nothing memorable (I don't remember what I ate). I would greatly encourage you to go to Little Korea instead, if you're not going to be in the Village already. My favorite places for barbecue in Little Korea are Kang Suh (just east of Broadway on the south side of 32nd St.) - which has charcoal if you care about such things (I do, a little) - and Woo Chon (south side of 36 St. just east of 5th Av.).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I went to Woo Lae Ok several months ago, I guess. It's the sister restaurant to Dok Suni's, which is right around the corner from me. I thought the quality of the food was about the same, as were the prices (c. $20-25 for dinner). Good food, nice ambiance, but nothing memorable (I don't remember what I ate). I would greatly encourage you to go to Little Korea instead, if you're not going to be in the Village already. My favorite places for barbecue in Little Korea are Kang Suh (just east of Broadway on the south side of 32nd St.) - which has charcoal if you care about such things (I do, a little) - and Woo Chon (south side of 36 St. just east of 5th Av.).

Thanks, Pan. But I do think this is to be a downtown night.

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I like Temple, on St. Mark's Place just west of 1st Av., but it's a lot smaller than Woo Lae Ok - but a relaxed atmosphere and cheaper. You might see about getting reservations on a weekend night.

Temple

81 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY 10003

(212) 979-9300

The decor is nicer at Woo Lae Ok, but I think the food is probably better at Temple.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've been to Kang Suh a bunch of times. I work for a Korean Company and my girlfriend is Korean. I really like Kang Suh in terms of the flavors and softness of the BBQ'd meats once they're cooked. However, the one thing that bothers me (as well as my girlfriend), is that we seem to get smaller portions when dining with folks who aren't korean. This is no joke. We have each been there in groups of korean people, as well as groups of non-koreans, and the portions seem to be different. Not to mention the service.

Did anyone have any similar experiences in korea-town restaurants?

I hate to discriminate or sound negative like this, but really, it was pretty bad. Very noticeable difference. I don't mind preferential treatment for people who clearly understand the language better - that almost makes sense - but for me, when people who clearly aren't of the same culture receive horrible treatment, it's just not right!!! But who knows, that could have just been a two-time deal, and i may be completely wrong.

That being said, my girlfriend and I actually preferred Woo Lae Oak in soho. Although this seemed too trendy and "americanized" to get a decent meal, we found the marinades to be almost as good as those used at Kang Suh, and the texture of the cooked meats, particularly the Kalbi, to be better than that used at Kang Suh. When you factor the portions at Woo Lae Oak, which were substantially larger (almost twice the size), and that the service was a lot nicer, in a much nicer setting - there is really almost no reason that I can see to go to Kang Suh. Prices are also similar at both places.

Only times I've had great meals at Kang Suh is when I've gone with work, where a meal for 12 people has been over $1000. That's a lot of money to spend at a Korean BBQ place!!!

I haven't tried any of the other places in Korea-town, and am always up for suggestions!

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Sorry you had problems with service at Kang Suh. It would suck if your perception is correct, but for my part, I've been there loads of times, have always had good service, and haven't noticed small portions there. And for the record, I'm not Korean and haven't been to Kang Suh with Koreans.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've been discriminated against in plenty of ethnic restaurants, but never at Kang Suh. And I tend to be highly attuned to what people at other tables are getting, because it's an instinct you develop as a reviewer. I do find, however, that the "barbecue" prices tend to be quite high at every Korean restaurant that serves it. It's extremely difficult for me to imagine a reasonable food-cost equation on most of these dishes -- almost $20 for a small-diameter plate of thinly sliced marinated raw meat that barely amounts to a snack -- and it has gotten to the point where I consider going out for Korean barbecue to be totally outside of the cheap-eats category: I fully expect to pay $50 a head at Kang Suh for a meal that includes barbecue, other dishes, and a modest bar tab.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I went to Woo Lae Ok several months ago, I guess. It's the sister restaurant to Dok Suni's, which is right around the corner from me.

Actually - Woo Lae Oak is a large international chain started in Seoul back in the 50s... the one in Seoul looked very nice but there was so much better food to be had elsewhere in the little backrooms throughout the city...

Dok Suni's and Do Hwa are related to each other - with the latter having Quentin Tarantino as a business partner.

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I like Kang Suh the best because they use live coals.

not no more. apparently they changed over to gas back in december.

i find it odd that they still have the rule of a mimimum of two BBQ orders. i can *almost* understand that when they're dealing with live coals, as there's a cost associated with the coals and whatnot. but now they're just turning on the stove. do i really need to spend 44 dollars just to get some (about 6 dollars worth if my estimate is correct) grilled meats?

overall, this place is pretty expensive and next to impossible to have a well-paced meal. they just dump everything on your table at once and then they throw the meat on the grill. i suppose that's why i only eat like this once a year.

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I dislike Woo Lae Oak myself (gas grill, ordinary aps); I prefer real charcoal. My favorite place is a tofu place and even though I am 100% non-Korean I have always had a very warm welcome. It is... (thanks again to google) Cho Dang Gol... 35th street. Gawd I love their food and miss it terribly.

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I went to Woo Lae Ok several months ago, I guess. It's the sister restaurant to Dok Suni's, which is right around the corner from me.

Actually - Woo Lae Oak is a large international chain started in Seoul back in the 50s... the one in Seoul looked very nice but there was so much better food to be had elsewhere in the little backrooms throughout the city...

Dok Suni's and Do Hwa are related to each other - with the latter having Quentin Tarantino as a business partner.

OK, now I realize that I was talking about Do Hwa, which is in the Village. So please disregard everything I've ignorantly posted about Woo Lae Ok!!!!!! Sorry, everyone, and my apologies to Woo Lae Oak.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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That pretty much eliminates Kang Suh's unique selling proposition.

Were you able to get any more information about the reasons, etc.?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I just had the same experience on Friday night. I wanted to try Kangsuh but when I learned that they don't use live coals I went back to Won Jo, my old standby. Does anybody know if anyone other than Won Jo uses live coals?

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Were you able to get any more information about the reasons, etc.?

i didn't press the issue. the waitress was friendly (most of them are here, which is unique in and of itself). she said "some people like gas better. no smoke". she paused and added "i like the coal".

and added that i liked the smoke.

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Yes, btwn 5th and 6th on the north side of the street about mid block. They have been there forever and are open 24hrs I think. Last year I felt they were really going down hill and letting the place fall apart (they had a fly problem and the place was in need of repair) but on my last visit I was pleased. They have repainted, cleaned up a bit and most importantly still use live coals.

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Won Jo is 23 W. 32nd St. and I have found it to be consistently good. Both my Korean and non-Korean friends have always enjoyed it. And they do take reservations for larger groups.

The other places my (Korean) wife and I like are Han Bat and Cho Dang Gol on 35th and on 32nd, Gam Mee Ok. Gam Mee Ok is known for its So Long Tang, a white beef broth soup, and their Bi Bim Bap. Also, it is generally known as the best place for kim chee. Once in our last three visits, it tasted a bit too fresh, but I attribute that to how busy the place is more than anything else. Even my mother in law likes it!

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Were you able to get any more information about the reasons, etc.?

i didn't press the issue. the waitress was friendly (most of them are here, which is unique in and of itself). she said "some people like gas better. no smoke". she paused and added "i like the coal".

and added that i liked the smoke.

Oh hell, that sucks.

At least we still have some places in Jersey that use coals.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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We should assemble a list of tri-state area Korean places that use coals. I'm pretty sure this leaves Won Jo as the only Manhattan place, but in addition to New Jersey surely there are some in Flushing?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...

I haven't been in several months but Kom Tang, 32 W 32nd, has always used coals. Last time I went I thought Kum Gang San had better meat but I always liked the coals at Kom Tang.

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Cho Dang Gol is a great place. It's not the normal BBQ place, but rather specializes in home made tofu and stews. The first time I dined there it was undiscovered and the owner told me her mother made the tofu (she waved from the back). It is so good. Friendly service too. Excellent for lunch. Damn I miss it.

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