641 10th Ave (45th St)
New York, NY 10036
I was invited to try Hell’s Chicken last week and accepted immediately because who would give up an opportunity for fried chicken? The restaurant also prides itself it making gluten-free fried chicken. I’m the last person to be drawn to gluten-free but I can imagine some of my readers’ ears may perk up at the sound of that. So off I went! I brought LAW along with me so we could try more foods. The restaurant is in – surprise, surprise – Hell’s Kitchen where there are very few options for good Asian food. Keep this one in mind next time you’re stuck there (because there’s no good reason to linger around there).
We started with a Korean classic: Japchae ($10 + $2 with beef, pork, or shrimp). Japchae is like the Chinese rice noodle and beef dish (干炒牛河) except its noodles are made with sweet potato glass noodles. The Hell’s Chicken version is on the sweeter side and has a strong kick from all those scallions. I’m no japchae connoisseur so can’t tell you how authentic it is, but it was good. Continue reading
34 W 32nd St (between Broadway and 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10001
I have to admit, I had been to Seoul Garden a number of times before, each time because I was too impatient/hungry/hangry to wait in line at another place. Seoul Garden was always THAT restaurant for me: good enough to eat at but not great enough to ever be a real choice. It always struck me as a restaurant of mediocrity, one that didn’t have more ambitious goals than providing solid, comfort Korean food (nothing wrong with that). So you can imagine my surprise when I got invited to dine with them recently… are they rebranding? New chef? New management? Someone is clearly trying! I grabbed LAW and we headed over to Ktown to check it out.
Turns out, I had been ordering incorrectly this whole time. I asked to have all the best items on the menu and was served dishes I had never ordered at Seoul Garden before. There were a few things that I had that night that were incredible and absolutely worth going back for.
First: the banchan. Banchan are small dishes that all Korean restaurants serve (complimentary!) as appetizers. It’s like getting bread before your meal except you’re getting all kinds of things like different kinds of kimchi, other veggies, squid, steamed egg, etc. Seoul Garden provided the usual with one particular amazing dish…
Little fish with fried sweet potato chips. The salty, chewy fish paired with the sweet, crisp sweet potato made for a mouthwatering combo. This was truly a great banchan that got my appetite going. I had never seen this before either. Plus points for creativity. The rest of the banchan below were more of the usual suspects: Continue reading
35 West 35th Street (between 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10001
I was recently invited to Madangsui for their Korean barbecue. I was pretty excited to try a new restaurant in ktown because I find that I’m always at the same places when I go (Kun Jip, Don’s Bogam, BCD Tofu House…). Madangsui is a couple streets up from the main 32nd street strip and nestled between a number of non-korean bars, which I thought was a red flag. But once you walk in, you’re transported back into that same Korean world. The place is actually pretty huge (note: good for parties) and was packed with koreans. Like all korean places, we were served an array of ban chan (small appetizers pictured below that are always refillable and FREE!).
The array of ban chan was not huge, but included a nice variety of things. Spicy, not spicy, crunchy, soft, etc. They were nice pairings with the barbecue to come.
Mad for Chicken
314 5th Ave
(between 31st St & 32nd St)
New York, NY 10001
Checked out Mad for Chicken with M.B. and Y.N. this week. I was told by a number of people that Mad for Chicken is better than BonChon. BonChon is my favorite wing but loyalty to food is not a trait I find in myself. It’s a meritocracy here. The best wins in my book. We started with a corn on cob with parmesan and lime. Corn was naturally sweet, which tasted great with the saltiness from the cheese. Though, Mad for Chicken isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here.
We then just ordered the Mad Combo of 5 drums and 10 wings ($21.95). We did half soy garlic and half spicy. Very similar to BonChon’s offerings. Continue reading
Seoul Food Truck
51st and Park Avenue
New York, NY
Seoul Food Truck parks right near my office during lunch so S.X., K.C., LAW and I decided to check it out today for our fun workday lunch. Seeing friends on weekdays is so much more exciting than weekends, not that weekend dates aren’t fun. There’s just something special about taking an hour out of your work day to see someone familiar, someone you don’t have to turn your work-face on for. Anyway, it was warm out and I wanted a Korean burrito so we went.
So, I’m actually obsessed with Korilla, Seoul Food Truck’s main competitor, and so directly compared this Sweet and Spicy Pork burrito to Korilla’s Spicy Pork burrito.* I ordered the Sweet and Spicy Pork in a whole wheat wrap with brown rice and spicy mayo. I don’t know why I was trying to be healthy with the brown and wheat given that I was eating a burrito, go figure. Anyway, If you click on that Korilla link, you can compare these two burritos side by side. Continue reading
Meh. Does not compare to Korilla at all. This $3.50 slider is tiny for the price and offers nothing much more than pork marinated in sweet and spicy sauce (always more sweet because they assume sweetness is more appealing to the Western palate) akin to the marinade offered at Korean supermarkets paired with a lot of kimchi with A LOT of raw onion, sandwiched between a decently grilled brioche bun. It isn’t a bad slider. Just a very mediocre one I feel like I could put together easily after a trip to H-Mart. Take out some of that onion and bring your prices down by a dollar fifty, then we’ll talk again.
Korilla Food Truck spotted on 3rd Ave and 14th Street
DELICIOUS. The meat was well-marinated and was further boosted with finger-licking Korilla sauce (think Asian sweet and salty BBQ sauce). We chose to have the sticky rice which was slightly undercooked but still a good pair with the flavorful meats. The wrap was very, very good, probably one of the best parts of the whole thing. It was not too thick, was very chewy, and had a very nice smooth texture. It was the finishing piece of the puzzle and helped bring together all the flavors, wrapping them into a roll of savory bliss. Every bite had an equal portion of rice and meats and kimchi. I can’t wait to have another one.