Danji: Korean. 346 W 52nd @ 8th-9th Av; 25/19/$49; 586-2880; http://danjinyc.com/; Midtown Korean tapas; Great service; Try the spicy pork belly sliders; Braised short ribs; Yellowtail sashimi; Place is extremely popular; Spicy Korean wings; Tofu is excellent for vegetarians; Kimchi pork dumplings; Just a very innovative place that stands out and is worth a try.
*Bann: Korean. 350 W 50th @ 8-9th; 23/21/$48; 582-4446; www.bannrestaurant.com; Upscale version of Korean; Cook it yourself Bar-b-q; Also have prepared dishes; Trendy bar as well; Beautiful inside; Service is solid; Smokeless table-tops; Undiscovered. Certainly a higher end version of the old favorites, the cheaper versions of which are found in Korea town (32nd). Sibling of Woo Lae Oak; Great date spot. Great formula.
Madangsui: Korean. 35 W 35th @ 6th Ave; 23/15/$38; 564-9333; www.madangsui.com; Known for having some of the best, flavorful BBQ in town; Wonderful Kalbi for sure; Seafood pancake appetizer is amazing; Great for a larger group; Wonderful soups and dumplings; The BBQ is $26 or so and you get a ton of food. Best to come here with a larger group. Also features sushi and various rolls. Large a la carte menu.
Shilla: Korean. 37 West 32nd @ 5th-6th Av; 22/19/$44; 967-1880; www.yelp.ca/biz/shilla-new-york-3; Upscale Korean BBQ house; Japanese entrees as well; Large selection of seafood or meats to grill; Plenty of a la carte- prepared items as well; One of the best of its genre in the area. Can be hit or miss if crowded; Always fun to cook it yourself or they will cook it for you. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week so great late-night option.
Kang Suh: Korean. 1250 Broadway @ 32nd; 21/12/$35; 564-6845; www.kangsuhnyc.com/; Do it yourself BBQ; Open 24/7; Also offers standard Korean fare like great Kimchi and even sushi; Fried Beef dumplings; 2-levels, upstairs is better. Huge menu of soups; sauces and meats; Overall the menu is massive and a perfect spot for someone not so sure about Korean. Weak on décor and service. Been around 30+ years & open 24/7.
Omai: Vietnamese. 158 9th Av @ 19-20th; 23/16/$35; 633-0550; www.omainyc.com; Upscale for Vietnamese; Soft lighting; Good for dates; Neighborhood friendly spot; Fairly tight quarters with food that makes it worth it. As with most of its genre, the Pho is to way to go; Sizable menu with rice, and a variety of beef dishes; Grilled calamari appetizer salad; Lots of rolls.
Do Hwa: Korean. 55 Carmine @ Bedford-7th Av; 23/20/$46; 414-1224; www.dohwanyc.com; Amazing BBQ meats; Grill it yourself; Younger, pre-club crowd; Unique cocktails. As authentic as Korean BBQ gets- without the madness of Korea town; Modern décor. Kimchi considered outstanding. More of a pleasant ambiance than many of its competitors – it is the West Village after all. Go for the Bibimbop.
VCafe: Vietnamese. 345 Greenwich @ Harrison-Jay; 22/17/$33; 431-5888; www.viet-cafe.com; Amazing for lunch featuring unbelievable sandwiches; Trendy looking spot for dinner; Modern preparations of Viet classics; Almost a brasserie feel. Open kitchen. Clearly – you come here for the Pho soups more than anything. Decent bar scene; Have great Chili based dishes as well; Strong option. Delicious appetizers.
Jungsik: Korean. 2 Harrison @ Hudson; 27/25/$150; 219-0900; www.jungsik.kr/#index; Highest ranked Korean restaurant in United States; Nobody not named Trump can afford this place; 7 course tasting menu is $180/person; Or you can do a 5 course ‘choice’ menu which will run $120+/person. Service & presentation are outstanding. Alcohol is very expensive too – maybe have tea! Foodie paradise if you make half a million+. Michelin gives it 2 stars.
Nha Trang: Vietnamese. 87 Baxter @ Bayard-Canal; 22/11/$17; 233-5948; Mountains of food; Crowded; Dirt cheap. BBQ beef entrees; Pho Noodle soups- multiple to choose from; Huge menu to select from; Truly authentic & packed with locals. Beware – it is a hole in the wall and not a great place for a sit-down dinner. More for lunch. Never for a date unless you are 17 and poor. Oddly – pretty darn good service too.
Indochine: Vietnamese. 430 Lafayette @ Astor-4th St; 21/19/$52; 505-5111; www.indochinenyc.com; French-influenced dishes; Super sexy staff serve up high-end Vietnamese classics with a French spin; Large, upscale menu; Unique food. People watching- fun scene. Across from the ever-popular Joe’s Pub so the crowd is trendy and usually noisy. Mixed service but overall reliable. Been around forever. Grilled Rib appetizer; Sea Bass.
Pho Grand: Vietnamese. 277C Grand @ Eldridge; 21/14/$25; 965-5366; www.phograndny.com/; Extremely authentic restaurant with large menu featuring soup, pork, and prawn dishes; Exotic spices and combinations; Dirt cheap for lunch or dinner. Go Pho it! Terrible joke – but great authentic & often overlooked location. So inexpensive, especially for lunch. Over 120 items on the menu.
Oiji: Korean. 119 1st Av @ 7th-St Mark’s; 25/20/$50; 646-767-9050; www.oijinyc.com; Small gem of a Korean space. Great takes on modern dishes; Very small; Just great cocktails; Tapas style small plates to share and enjoy; Braised Oxtail with Root Vegies – OMG; Pork Belly with Kimchi; Get the Honey Butter Chips; Not a huge menu – just delicious. Dinner only.
Hanjan: Korean. 36 W 26th @ 5th-6th Av; 24/20/$49; 206-7226; www.hanjan26.com; Inspired Korean small plates; Perfect for late night Ramen; Goal of restaurant is to mimic Korean tavern and street market food – food how Koreans authentically eat it; Closed Sunday; Try the “freshly killed” grilled chicken wings; Seafood pancake; Grilled Mackerel; BBQ Short ribs; Various skewers.
Her Name is Han: Korean. 17 E 31st @ Madison; 24/17/$42; 779-9990; www.hernameishan.com/; Just the nicest staff serve fantastic fresh Korean dishes; Traditional/homestyle preparations; Fun, affordable cocktail list – with creative names and ingredients; Not a fancy place – better for lunch; Boiled dumplings, Pork Ribs, Slow cooked Pork belly. Large menu – not a traditional BBQ at your table place. It’s a la carte.
Kang Ho Dong: Korean. 1 E 32nd @ 5th Av; 23/17/$44; 966-9839; http://baekjeongnyc.com/; Based off of a South Korean chain; Wonderful quality beef and pork; Grilled BBQ style table-side; Very popular with locals; One of the complimentary sides is this cheesy-corn. YUM. Excellent website- pictures and videos; They will cook for you; Not many seafood options; Best bet here is the Beef Combo (includes ribs) for 2-3;
Hangawi: Korean. 12 E 32nd @ 5th-Mad; 24/24/$49; 213-0077; www.hangawirestaurant.com; Vegetarian Food; Relaxing; Serene; Tranquil; Check shoes at the door. Only pure vegetarian place I have on this site; Just a very relaxing experience featuring great service; Try the dumplings to start and the Mongolian hot pot is excellent. There is a 4 course tasting menu for $55. Have rice bowels; Lots of tofu selections.
Dons Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar: Korean. 17 E 32nd @ Madison; 24/21/$58; 683-2200; www.donsbogam.com; Cook yourself at your table at this excellent Korean BBQ place that is actually trendy; Cool bar and international wine list; Fancier than most in the genre; The galbi is unmatched; $15 lunch specials served daily; Many soups on the menu; Most BBQ platters for 2 are $80-90; Expensive for the genre.
New Wonjo: Korean. 23 W 32nd @ 5th-6th Ave; 24/16/$38; 695-5815; http://newwonjo.com/; Open 24/7 and offers succulent table-side BBQ; Charcoal grills instead of gas; Crowded at peak hours; Can get 3 meat BBQ combos for variety; Also: Spicy tuna salad, Seaweed salad, Edamame, Seafood pancakes, Bibimbop, Large Short Rib Soup and other large soups/ stews; Has Sushi menu too; BBQ includes many beef options, short rib, chicken, pork, shrimp and assorted seafood.