NYC Korean Food

We have all kinds of Asian food here in NYC, especially in Queens and Manhattan. Of course there is Chinatown, ever famous, and we have K-town, which is essentially Korea-town. But we are not limited to certain neighborhoods, good food is everywhere. I researched the hell out of our Korean restaurants to find three of the best, and then I was on my way. Here’s what I found:

Atoboy

You could almost miss Atoboy on 28th Street (I almost did), the entrance is non-descript, the sign small and plain. This restaurant has been described as minimalist, and I can only agree. However, don’t get it confused, it is beautiful in its own right. Even though it has a recommendation by the sought after Michelin Guide, don’t break out your Sunday best, this place is casual in an upscale kind of way.

There is no actual menu to choose from, it consists of a choice of items from a 5-course menu. Which I happen to love. My choices were absolutely delicious, and the presentations was outstanding. Everything was dainty, artistic and just beautiful. I started out with a Smoked Dubu Waffle Cone with Fuji Apple and Jochung. It was literally gone in two heavenly bites. Next was a King Crab Salad (which looked nothing like I expected) with Burrata, Bloomsdale Spinach and Pine Nut Milk. Amazing. The third course was Scallop & Dubu, which was also unexpected in the way it was served, It was combined with Shrimp, Bracken Fern in an Ox Bone Sauce. My favorite course was the next one, Porkbelly served with smoked Soy, Kale and Spring Onion. It was absolutely divine. The dessert was called Sujeonggwa Granita, and it was yet another optical illusion. It looked like rice! However it consisted of lychee yogurt, burrata and walnuts, it had an amazing taste of cinnamon, ever so slightly. I can’t even tell you how much I loved this dinner.

Nowon

This Korean-American restaurant is located on 6th Street between Avenues A and B, it’s totally hip, the music is Hip Hop, there is graffiti and other paintings on the wall, it’s Very Lower Eastside, and I just adore it. The food at Nowon is Korean, but it has some very distinct American influences, it’s a great new (or maybe not that new) trend that I’m whole heartedly supporting! I was so happy I tried their food, because, honestly, nothing there was anything I ever tried before. You know I was a happy camper.

I dined with my trusted sidekick, my daughter Sasha, and let’s just say: we went to town. We started with Guacamole and Chips, which were made of avocado, pickled onion, sunflower seeds, cilantro, Nowon’s roasted chili oil, served with sesame rice crackers. This was so different, and my daughter said that it was the best guacamole she ever had, I’m inclined to agree. Next we shared Chopped Cheese Rice Cakes with spiced beef soy pickled jalapeño, parm, breadcrumbs, lettuce and tomato. This was a most unexpected dish, and we totally inhaled it, so dang good. As the the main dishes we chose the Legendary Burger with two patties, American cheese, kimchi mayo and Bread & Butter pickles. I can confidently say that this is one of the best burgers in NYC. Sasha chose the Skillet Pork Belly with shishito, onion, bean spout and a horseradish mustard sauce, accompanied by an order of Crispy Tater Tots spiced with curry. I swear on everything I own, it was one of the best meals I ever had.

Barn Joo

Barn Joo has two locations in NYC, one on 35th Street and one in Union Square. To be honest, I decided to dine here with my girlfriends to have some Korean BBQ, I heard that they were pretty good. However, it was during Covid times, and I didn’t realize that we weren’t permitted to be seated inside, where all the BBQ action was usually happening. The menu was limited due to the times. Of course that didn’t scare me away, there was plenty of good stuff on that menu!

We had a table full of food, and I quickly forgot about my BBQ craving, it was an excellent meal. Our starters were Big Rock Oysters from Massachusetts and Calamari with Peanuts and paprika, served with a tartar sauce. Righteous appetizers. Our main dishes were a Stone Bowl Bimibap with Bulgogi over Five Grain Purple Rice, Braised Short Ribs with pine nuts, chestnuts, mushrooms and peppers, and a Spicy Rice Cake Bulgogi with gochujang, kabocha squash, onions and bell peppers. These were very traditional dishes, packed with Korean flavors and spices, we all went home happy.

Author: Gotham Foodie

Hello there, fellow foodies! My name is Erica, I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to the US, New York City to be exact, in July of 1987. I have worked most of my time here in the Big Apple as a bartender, but my true love is food. I cook just about every day, I search for good food everywhere, and pretty much always find it. I don't consider myself a food critic, I don't have the culinary background for that kind of expertise. I do however know good food, good chefs and good restaurants. I report back about my culinary adventures, and I choose to leave out my unsatisfactory experiences. We have enough negativity in our daily lives, I don't want to add to that. All the recipes in my FROM MY KITCHEN and DOTW blogs are cooked and prepared by me. All pictures are taken by me. I don't always eat everything you see in my pictures, but you bet your buns, I do try everything. Last but not least, you should know that I am a huge Top Chef fan. I have never missed an episode of the Bravo TV show. I have at this point visited almost 20 restaurants run by Top Chef contestants, and I'm continuously impressed by their skill, drive and passion. So I will continue to seek them out, and I hope you join me in my journey!

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