I was invited to dinner at Barn Joo, because chef Chef David Lee just competed in the Culinary Battles cooking competition. I feel like I usually don’t come to things like this, but if Bill Murray taught me anything –it’s to say yes and just be there. And I’m glad I did. It was a lot of fun.
There were a couple of people at the table that looked familiar. I thought one guy was like my brother-in-law or some guy I met last week when I was wasted. Turned out he was on Hell’s Kitchen (the show on FOX with Gordon Ramsey) …and so was the other girl. I like that show. They were cool and funny. And I kept hearing the guy say “I’m not a bitch!” I think he did that on the show too. Anyway, that was cool.
There was a lot of good Korean food and alcohol. I’m can’t even remember what I liked best. But if I can pick out a few things off the top of my head… the sushi thing, baby octopus and the tacos.
Somehow, things turned into multiple bottles of soju, which I think I’m partly to be blamed …and soju bombs and oysters shooters. Drinky time.
They look like they have some good lunch specials that’s a little above $10 …which ain’t bad, considering I just paid $40 for lunch today in Williamsburg. When did a burger and two beers cost forty dollars? Anyway, I work close by Barn Joo, so looks like a new option.
Oh, I knew of Barn Joo before, because I do a lot of searching for “chicken wings” at work. And they have BJ wings (Korean soy/garlic). Pretty dang good and good name too.
Barn Joo – 893 Broadway (btwn 19th & 20th St) New York, NY 10003
Rob Bruce IMed me at work. He never IMs me and we never talk about food. He was raving about the BonChon Chicken he just ate. I thought it was suspicious, like BonChon hacked his IM to message me. It worked.
Every time I planned to go to BonChon (Midtown) before, I was dissuaded by what I hear is a super long wait for the food. In fact, I just assume that’s the nature of Korean Fried Chicken. There used to be a BBQ Chicken (not barbeque chicken, but “Best of the Best Quality Chicken”) Korean spot near my work. There would be no one in there and it would still take over 30 minutes for my small order. They said it was because they fry each chicken to order.
I got Chris of Cubeecraft to go eat BonChon Chicken right now. He got me to go to the East Village one (the same one Rob went to). They both said the service is so much faster there. I’m sold …and they were right. The chicken came so fast. Maybe five-ten minutes after we ordered.
The chicken was crispy, sweet, sticky …delicious. I liked it with Sriracha sauce. They were finger lickin’ good.
We also had Korean Tako Balls, which I kept thinking they said Korean Taco Balls. They were those octopus Takoyaki balls. Really good. At the time, I was wondering what made them taco-style or Mexican. Now I get it. I no dumb.
Okay, yes. The East Village BonChon is the one to go to if you don’t like to wait. It’s hard to find though. There’s no real sign and it looks like a cave. And the small whiteboard says Boca. From my understanding, it’s a bar called Boca that serves BonChon Chicken. I think this place used to be a wood and metal parts shop. I thought Chris was taking me there.
BonChon Chicken (@ Boka) - 9 St Marks Pl (btwn 3rd Ave & Astor Pl) New York, NY 10003
Speaking of “Finger Lickin’ Good”, here’s my tribute to MCA, Beastie Boys, NYC and Huey Lewis…
I’m not sure how I invited myself over, but I got some good comfort home cooking at Elisa’s. She made some really good Korean Spicy Yukaejang Soup. It amazes me that people can cook food in their home. I always think that something like this needs to be made at a restaurant. I need to invite myself over to other people’s suppers more often.
I finally tried the Korilla BBQ Truck. There was no line …well, I mean there was only 5 people vs a line down the block that I usually see if I pass by it.
The way you order is kind of like Chipotle. There’s a line of servers down the assembly line. You pick between tacos, burrito or rice bowl, but with Korean style meats. They even have salsa and cheese. Add kimchi and some veggies, then top it off with their specially made sauces.
Dang, this was so good. Really good. I got the Bulgogi Beef Bowl with everything ($8). The meat was super tender and they gave me a lot. You just can’t see in my photo, since it’s hidden under all that cheese. I thought I would need a knife for those big slices of beef, but I could easily bite it off.
The sauces are really good. I had them put on the Spicy Korilla sauce and the Smokey Mayo one. Hot, creamy and flavorful.
Now I understand why they have lines. Next time, I think I’ll forgo the cheese and the salsa. It just didn’t seem like a right match for my tastes. The salsa almost tasted like pineapple. Was there pineapple in there?
This tiny deli is inside a building. I guess most are in New York, but I mean you have to go inside the building and down a hall to get to it. The thing that interests me is that they have Korean food. So I gave it a try.
I got the most expensive meal – Bulgogi Deopbap Beef Box $12. The other Korean boxes are cheaper at around $9. It came in a hefty platter sectioned off neatly –with potatoes, cellophane noodles, salad, rice and the Korean sliced marinated beef.
The food was alright. Looked pretty, but didn’t impress me. It got me stuffed though. The soup was too salty, but I’m not sure if it’s one of those things that you pour over the rice? I don’t know. That makes more sense.
The people were nice in there. They seem to have regulars like this old guy who apparently gets coffee all the time. In my photo, it looks like he doesn’t have a head. No photoshop.
I was strolling back and forth on 32nd Street trying to decide on which Korean restaurant. Only thing was that I didn’t want to sit down to eat …wanted it to go. Main option seemed like Woorijip, but it was packed.
I walked into H Mart (Hanahreum Supermarket), thinking I was just going to get a container of kimchi …but they had some prepared food in there. Looked like some omelets and this lunch box I got for only $3.99. It’s like the complimentary sides you get when you eat at a Korean restaurant. Sometimes when I dine in, that’s really the only thing I want to eat.
The box had kimchi, greens, ham & green beans, and pollock fish. All good and spicy. Fish had them bones. I should have taken photos of that, because it looked cool.
Surprisingly, I was stuffed. I didn’t think I would be. Nice lunch for $4 …with none of the hassle.
H Mart – 25 W 32nd St (btwn 5th Ave & Broadway) New York, NY 10001
I didn’t realize this place was two restaurants in one when I ate there. Muk Eun Ji Korean Restaurant and Son Ja Jang Chinese Handpulled Noodles. I picked this place because it wasn’t packed like the other places in K-town. I needed my kimchi.
I wanted another one of those Soju bottles with the hot chick on it, but the waitress suggested I get the Bek Se Ju Korean Ginseng Wine. The waitress said if I drink it, the bottle says I’ll live to 100 years old. I don’t know if that’s what I need, but the wine was pretty tasty with that Ginseng flavor.
I got the Handpulled Noodles with Spicy Seafood Soup lunch special $8.99. Big bowl. I was taking photos of it and the waitress came over to show me how to take a photo …taking my chopsticks and pulling out a giant glob of the noodles from the bowl. Even after four years of food blogging, I still have things to learn.
I liked the broth. The noodles may not have been too impressive, although this long video of how they pull the noodles is. It puts me in a trance like watching my hard drive defragment.
I also got complimentary Kimchi, Onion and Pickled Radish that I dipped into Korean Bean Paste. I couldn’t believe how good the raw onion tasted with that bean paste.
The walls of the restaurant were big advertisements for Jinan Maisan aged kimchi. The restaurant also posted this video on Youtube…
1:08 –Me So Hungry!
They gave me a little Yogurt drink at the end. I think this meal left me with some good stomach bacteria for my probiotic diet.