Tag Archives: korea town

Top 10 Noms of 2009

31 Dec

What is a New Year without a Top 10?  I have been blogging for exactly 325 days and have enjoyed every moment of it.  I love food… and I’m so happy that I have some very faithful readers who have joined me on this journey (THANK YOU!). With that said, here is my top 10 Noms from 2009:

10) Disney World stands out in my mind for a very memorable eating trip in 2009.  The dinner we had at Marrakash comes up often and I still can’t remember ever having a better sundae than the Ghiradelli one I had at Downtown Disney.

9) When Mike and I took the Culinary Walking Tour of Greenwich Village, we didn’t really know what to expect. It wound up being great for both food (we have gone back to these places a few times since then) and history. 

8) I actually wound up going to Becco twice this year (Becco 1 and Becco 2).  They are awesome for having an unlimited pasta tasting from their three pastas of the day and a pretty extensive wine list for under $25.  But their Osso Bucco is what dreams are made of.

7) Every time I go to Koi it is amazing.  It’s one of the very, very few restaurants I can go to over and over again (even multiple times in the same week).  The crispy rice is amazing and I credit the Miso Glazed Cod with having started me eating fish for the first time.

6) The short ribs at Charles were great (well… I thought so until I had #2 on this list). We first sampled them at a nice fund-raising food festival and then I won a gift certificate by bidding $60 for a $75 gift certiciate.  The braised lamb shank was exceptional and highly recommended.

5) Quality Meats had been recommended to me time and time again.  While the steak was great, but not my favorite, the corn creme brulee was so good that I dream about it.

4) Eating at Montenapo, especially on someone else’s dime so we could order multiple courses without guilt (well, except waistline guilt), was a HUGE treat.  It’s brand new and in the middle of an area that is known to wimp out on food.  The Osso Bucco was the best I’ve ever had (even though I just had a taste of someone else’s) and the desserts were sensational.  There wasn’t a bad bite in the entire meal. 

3) I have loved Keens Steakhouse since the first time I tried it, however, the bar is especially amazing and I’m so glad Lori joined me for my first time.  That potato and steak was heavenly and more restaurants should make merengue… especially if it’s that good!

2) The number two slot goes to a yet to be blogged about meal at Bottega (Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in Napa Valley).  Why was it so good? You’ll just have to read the blog to find out!

1) My birthday dinner at WD-50 was epic. It is hands down the best meal I’ve ever had.  We went whole hog and got the full tasting menu.  Each dish was a new adventure… and not just because it looked cool.  There were such wonderful flavors in everything and I really loved this place.  #1 for the year… probably lifetime #1 to date.

Runners up:

Happy New Year Nommers!

More Ktown Joy

5 Oct

I love Korean food.  Even though I was just in Korea Town 2 weeks ago, when my best friend (who is Korean) asked where I wanted to go to break the fast (for Yom Kippur) I decided to go again.  She brought me some place new, KumGangSan (32nd St. between 5th Ave and Broadway) that had a piano on a ledge above a waterfall.  Odd but cool.  Turns out it’s her grandparent’s favorite place in KTown. It soon became mine.

The silver chop sticks were a nice touch (though they were hollow, which made the weight a little strange).

As per usual in Korean restaurants, the food started coming out immediately.  This was especially good since I’d been fasting all day and was RAVENOUS.  They first brought out a salad which had a citrus-like dressing that I really enjoyed.

The soft tofu was pretty new for me.  The waiters were GREAT, however, about my allergy (I guess it’s helpful that they’re told in Korean exactly what it is I’m allergic to… THANKS ESTHER!)  My tofu came out perfectly with no red sauce.  Even though it was mushy and I usually don’t like tofu, I thought this was great.

Then the little bowls began to arrive.  It still fascinates me how many little bowls of food can be on one table.  I can’t eat most of them, but the ones I did eat I really enjoyed.

The first thing we actually ordered arrived quickly.  It was a Seafood Pajun, which is a rice flour pancake with seafood and scallions.  While I’ve always liked this, it’s usually quite greasy.  This one wasn’t at all and the seafood had great flavor.

Next came Esther’s dish.  I have no idea what it was and I couldn’t even touch it… just look at that color!  Beautiful but deadly.  It did have seafood in it and Korean Rice Noodles (which remind me of pool noodles.)

My craving finally arrived.  Dol Sot Bibim Bap.  “Dol Sot” as I learned last time, means hot stone bowl… and this is the key.  The crispy rice was FANTASTIC all crisped to the side of the bowl.  The veggies were also especially tasty and they had a nice assortment.  While I asked for pork (since I don’t love chopped beef, which is how the beef usually comes), they actually served it with beef but it was in strips and tasted more like bulgogi.  I especially enjoyed this mistake.

We ended with a creamy chopped ice fruity dessert that came free and was sensational.  I was too busy eating it to snap a picture.  It was also topped with 3 fruit loops. I forgot how delicious those little suckers are.

I’ve been to Korea Town on multiple occassions and tried at least half a dozen places.  Kum Gang San, however, definitely won.  While we didn’t try the BBQ, everything was fresher, more interesting, and better than the other places.  Though still no where near Esther’s home cooking.  It actually made me regret giving Shilla a 7 since it leaves little room for improvement, however, I’ll give it the 8 it most probably deserves.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

Korean BBQ

23 Sep

Thanks to my best friend from growing up, I LOVE Korean food.  Of course, this is quite a bit of a quandary since I’m allergic to peppers and Koreans LOVE their peppers.  Luckily I have been able to successfully avoid them by knowing what to order… kind of. 

Mike and I decided to eat in Koreatown after a very successful shopping trip at JC Penney (my new favorite store… who knew?!)  I had a list of places to try and we stepped into Shilla (on 32nd between Broadway and 5th).  It was only after Mike mentioned it that I realized that we had been there before.  Whoops!  I remembered liking it but being annoyed that they make you order 2 BBQ dishes to eat at the BBQ.  I wasn’t overly hungry, but we decided to go for it… Plus an order of Bim Bim Bob (in a hot stone bowl of course… aka “dol sot”).  Our BBQ picks were Bul Go Gi (my favorite! it’s thinly sliced beef in a special marinade) and Saewoo Gui (grilled jumbo shrimp).

(Apologies for the pictures… still using my iPhone since my camera battery wasn’t charging for a few days… fixed now)

When we sat down, we were immediately greeted by a spoon that looked, shall we say, protected:

The center of the tables have an actual grill in them.  They light them up and somehow they don’t catch on fire… but it makes for some fun table grilling.

The salad looked good but was far too red for me to consider eating:

The one thing that always shocks and amuses newbies to Korean BBQ is all the dishes that they put out beforehand.  90% of them I could not possibly identify (except that if it’s very red it’s probably kimchi), but some I really enjoy. 

Mike especially likes the crunchy fish.

The waiters bring the food out raw and throw it on the grill, then come back periodically to flip it and move it around so nothing burns. (Shilla has onions as well.  Each place has their own set of veggies they use). Unfortunately sometimes they forget to let you know when it’s done, but you figure it out and hope you’re not eating something that isn’t quite cooked.  The shrimp came out first and they were flavorful and delicious.

When the waiter brought out the meat, I was immediately concerned.  First, it wasn’t thinly sliced like Bulgogi usually is and second, it was BRIGHT red.  Kimchi red.  UH OH!  Sure enough it was a mistake and the right meat came out.

Once the bulgogi was done, we made lettuce wraps (rice + meat + whatever from the side dishes you desire to include all wrapped up in a lettuce leaf).

We also split the Dol Sot Bim Bim Bob.  Bim Bim Bob is rice topped with assorted veggies, a protein (in this case, chicken), and a fried egg on top.  You usually put kimchi in it, but I use the Korean soy sauce (with sesame oil I believe).  When you get it in a restaurant, you can order it in a hot stone bowl which makes the rice burn and stick a little to the sides.  This is my favorite part.

The meal ended with a sip of tea, which was especially delicious.  The waitress said it was ginger and cinnamon, however, I also tasted something floral, vanilla, and honey.  Whatever it was, it was a nice sweet way to end the meal.

Of course, none of the food at Shilla can come anywhere near to comparing to Esther’s home cooked Korean food. However, since I can’t hire Esther as my personal chef (the whole doctor’s hours would probably get in the way), it’s a decent alternative.  I will say though that I have had better in K-Town (and without the 2 dish BBQ minimum) for cheaper (this was $21 for the bulgogi, $22 for the shrimp, and then the affordable meal option of $13 Bim Bim Bob).

Overall Nom Points: 7 out of 10