Location: 162-23 Depot Rd. Queens, NY (nr Broadway stop on LIRR)
Price: $17 for one serving of pork belly
Sometimes I think to myself that if Flushing, Queens didn’t have so many good Korean restaurants out there, I would never really step foot into the borough of Queens. That maybe the case but, since I have an itch for GOOD Korean food on a regular basis, I have make my pilgrimage at least once a month (oh yeah…forgot I have family out there). One of my pilgrimages always include the best place in NYC (as far as I know so far) for Korean style Pork Belly (Sam Gyup Sal) at Tong Sam Gyup Gui. The restaurant might be hard to find for non-koreans because the name of the restaurant is written in Korean but has a bizarre English name (N.Y. D.D.M. Migliore Restaurant) which seems to have no logical relation to the Korean name. In addition, as if the restaurant couldn’t get any more oddly authentic, the entire menu is written in Korean and the Mexican waitress there speaks Korean.
With all this “Korean” ambiance in the air it’s hard not to enjoy the thick slabs of juicy Pork Belly on the giant grills. They pretty much bring all the pork belly, kimchee, and bean sprouts out together and everything goes on the grill to form a perfect pork feast. The flavors of the ingredients come together very well and once you’re done with the meat, they bring out the bibimbap (mixed rice w vegetables) to grill on the very same grill the meat was cooked. The flavors and juices of the meat get infused into the bibimbap mix and make for almost a perfect ending to a great porky Korean meal.
Momofuku Fried Chicken (Noodle Bar)
Location: 171 1st Ave (bw 10th & 11th St)
A friend expressed the desire to try any of the momofuku restaurants; and having tried noodle bar and ssam before, I wanted to try something “new.” I didn’t want to pay for the bo ssam dinner because my mama makes a killer home-made bo ssam and there’s a key ingredient to hers that momo lacks: motherly loooove.
I guess I got lucky with reservations because I got a Friday night reservation (11:55pm) on my 2nd try. The reservation process was meticulous (sign-up, cc, confirmation print out) and warnings were plenty (you will get charged the full $100 if you cancel within 24 hours). They wound up not checking the printed confirmation.
Prior to the chicken we were presented with 4 sauces, (bibim, soy, hoisen, and scallion), vegetables (lettuce, carrots, radish, mint), and mu shu wrap. Nothing really to comment about here.
The chicken itself. I preferred the korean style while a couple of the guys preferred the southern. I always hated old bay, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I wasn’t a huge fan of the southern style. I thought it tasted burnt and way too salty. The lettuce and wrap did make it a bit better though. The sauces, vegetables, and wrap does make the whole experience a bit more different and unique but it was A LOT of food for 4 diners. I would highly recommend a party larger than 6, even if the 4 diners have been famished for days.
I wasn’t crazy about the whole fried chicken experience; the chicken didn’t change my world nor expose my palate to a whole new level. It was decent fried chicken and honestly, it’s way too hyped for my taste buds.
maybe next time momo
-Location: 9 W 32nd St (Btw 5th Ave. & Broadway)
-Price: $16.95 for Ojinguh Dduck boki & cheese (enough for 3 people)
There are times when you really want to LIKE a restaurant because all the factors make it seem like it will be a great place to eat. From all the factors of close proximity to work lunch, cute girl handing out mildly false flyers in front of the restaurant, and most importantly the rumor they have tastiest version of your favorite Korean food: Dduck Boki! In the case of Arang restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan’s K-town they are known more accurately for their Spicy sautéed calamari & rice cakes w/ melted mozzarella & American cheese.
The dish comes out in two parts: The dduck boki and a another dish with rice, dry seaweed, & kimchee which you mix in with the sauce later. We discovered the serving they give can satisfy the cravings of 3 adult men due to the heaviness/greasiness of the dish. They gave ample rice cakes which is very filling but, the cheese was a bit overwhelming. Everything felt a bit too fusion. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the mixture of rice & sauce at the end of the meal, alot more than the actual main dish. This dish would go much better in the evening with some drinks and with other dishes more than eating it as a solo lunch meal.
Lastly, negative sporks for bad service. There were only 4 other customers in the restaurant and it took forever to order, get water, & checks. I thought Korean restaurants are suppose have good service??