BCD Tofu House, 17 West 32nd Street, (212) 967-1900
One of a chain started in Los Angeles, the food here is familiar — grilled meats, bibimbap, seafood and scallion pancake — but, Oliver Strand said, it’s unusually bright and lively. Specialties included hot seafood tofu soup and hot pickled crab.
Bon Chon, 325 Fifth Avenue (32nd Street), (212) 686-8282
One of a chain of fried chicken restaurants and one of a number of such chains in New York. “The garlic-and-soy wings are crispy and tangy, while the spicier version has a subtle heat that sneaks up on you at about the third wing,” Oliver said. “They’re made fresh, which means you cool your heels for about 20 minutes before you eat.”
Cho Dang Gol, 55 West 35th Street, (212) 695-8222
“Cho Dang Gol serves uniquely rustic food,” Ruth Reichl wrote. “The specialty here is fresh soybean curd, made daily at the restaurant. The kitchen makes each dish with extreme care. Even the panchan, the little saladlike appetizers, are of remarkably high quality.”
Gam Mee Oak, 43 West 32nd Street, (212) 695-4113
Best known for its ox bone soup, great kimchee and other specialties.
Han Bat, 53 West 35th Street, (212) 629-5588
Han Bat specializes in the country dishes of southern Korea, Eric Asimov wrote, rather than the table-top barbecuing associated with Korean cooking.
Han Gawi 12 East 32nd Street, (212) 213-0077
“Hangawi reminds you of the exotic nature of each bite as you take it,” Ruth Reichl said of this vegetarian restaurant. “In the process, time seems to vanish. It is rare to be able to travel so far, so fast, so inexpensively.”
Kang Suh, 1250 Broadway (West 32nd Street), (212) 564-6845
This may be the best known of New York’s Korean barbecue restaurants, although gas has replaced the charcoal that fuel the grills when Ruth Reichl visited.
Kyochon, 319 Fifth Avenue (East 32nd Street), (212) 725-9292
At night, Kyochon, another fried chicken chain, is the party you hit before karaoke. “The wings — middling during the day — aren’t just good at night, they’re great,” Oliver said. “They’re crisper, spicier and sharper, and parry the high-proof wallop of a glass of soju.”
Mandoo Bar, 2 West 32nd Street, (212) 279-3075
Their specialty is made all day long in the window up front — mandoo dumplings. Eric Asimov liked the meat and cabbage variety best.
New Won Jo, 23 West 32nd Street, (212) 695-5815
New owners brought new energy, Oliver said. That’s reflected as soon as the lively and fresh banchan comes to the table. Try the short rib stew and the spicy ox bone stew.
New York Kom Tang Kalbi House, 32 West 32nd Street, (212) 947-8482
This place still uses charcoal for barbecue grills, as it did when Eric Asimov reviewed it. They’ve been open more than 30 years, and claim to be the oldest Korean restaurant in New York.
Restaurant Forte Baden Baden, 28 West 32nd Street, second floor, (212) 714-2266
Deep-fried rotisserie chicken, beer and hip hop — what a combination. “Baden Baden is one of New York City’s few hofs, Korean restaurants where beer is the drink of choice, instead of soju or sake,” Peter Meehan wrote. “The interior is meant to evoke a Germanic pub or beer hall.”
Seoul Garden, 34 West 32nd Street, second floor, (212) 736-9002
Go for the casseroles, noodles, stews and soups that regularly draw a huge Korean crowd.