Because there are so many restaurant options here in New York, with few exceptions, I rarely strike the same place twice. Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is one such exception. If you’ve never had Korean BBQ (or even if you have), get in a cab/on the Subway/on a plane and go right now and get ready to eat some of the best meat of your life. Seriously.
Korean BBQ basically entails grilling different meats on an open charcoal flame, which imbues the meat with subtle smoky tones and makes everything taste that much better. Some restaurants will cook the meat in kitchen if you ask, but a huge part of the experience is having the meat cooked directly in front of you. The meat cooks quickly, so very little time passes from when you start drooling at the sight of the meat on the grill and the time it’s ready to eat. Even better yet, at Kang Ho Dong, the attendants do all the cooking for you so you don’t have to bother yourself with making sure the meat cooks evenly. Nom on!
Monday – Sunday: 11.30AM – 2.00 AM
Tip: There is always a line during normal dinner hours. You can only make a reservation for large parties, so come early or late to avoid the dinner rush.
1 East 32nd Street
Cross streets: 32nd street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
Nearest subway stops: 33rd Street (6) or 34th Street/Herald Square (B, D, F, M, N, Q, R)
I’ve never had a single bad dish at Kang Ho Dong, but these are my tried and true favorites:
>> Marinated Short Rib
The best damn thing on the menu. The meat is crazy tender and the marinade is the perfect level of sweet. Once on the charcoal flame, the meat caramelizes perfectly, so each bite is bursting with savory, sweet, and smoky flavors.
>> Premium Seared Pork Belly
Bacon done better. The cut is thicker than you would expect from American bacon; it’s much more akin to Canadian bacon. They’ll cook this before your beef dishes, which is perfect because the saltiness leads well into the sweetness of the marinated beef.
>> Pork Skin
Alright, this one isn’t for everyone. The grilled pork skin has a gelatin-like consistency, so it’s like eating spicy, savory gummies. Do with that what you will.
>> Lunch Box
Rice + kimchi + seaweed + fishcake strips shaken together. ‘Nuff said.