(NYC) Charcoal bbq in koreatown

I’m thinking of doing a birthday dinner in nyc. What is a good spot folks? I am OK with any price. I just want some world class food and smoke :slight_smile: @joonjoon

How many people?

Date night…just 2 :slight_smile:

Have you heard about Cote Korean Steakhouse? Opened a few months ago. As one reviewer described it, “a steakhouse disguised as a Korean bbq joint.” It became hot right out of the box, so getting a reservation has been difficult – only 24 tables – but we finally secured one earlier this month. It was a fabulous experience.

While the grills (each cost $4,000) are smokeless, because of the special design, they still give the meat a smoky flavor. Meats are top quality (they have their own aging room downstairs). The Butcher’s Feast is the way to go. For $48pp, you get four different cuts. We had our server cook them for us, but you can dyi. Along with the meats there were the Korean-style fixins’. Quite different from the banchan you might be used to. If you like spicy, you won’t be disappointed. And, by the way, you should definitely order the spicy & tangy chicken nuggets which don’t come with the feast but are on the bar menu. Cocktails and wine lists, of course.

The photo set on my Flickr is here.

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Actually my very good friend who is korean went to Cote for her husband’s birthday and raved about their meal. She said it wasn’t a typical banchan assortment, more creative than traditional and they had the butcher’s feast.
Usually they go to New Wonjo for bbq which has charcoal grills and more traditional menu.

Thanks. Lovely, as always.

Thank you for the compliment!

I haven’t been to Korean BBQ in NYC in a long time. My knowledge is mostly from browsing reviews and stuff online. But generally speaking there are 3 kinds of Korean BBQ in Manhattan: Old school, casual new school, and premium new school. Cote as people mentioned above is a premium new school joint offering some really premium cuts. If money is no object, Cote and Don’s Bogam seem to be considered the best in the city.

The “new school” joints change some of the classic formulas of KBBQ and try to do some things others aren’t doing. The biggest difference is that you won’t be getting the massive array of side dishes that’s a trademark of Korean BBQ restaurants. If that sounds like your thing and want something a little more fun and casual, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is a really popular spot that’s one of the original “new school” chains from Korea. They have some fun things there like an egg moat and the shaken lunch box thing.

Also, none of these places use charcoal, so if you want that charcoal experience, you’ll only find it at wonjo (as far as I know).

You might also want to consider doing Japanese Korean BBQ, I hear Takashi is really great, but quite expensive. I’ve been meaning to get my ass over there for years.

joonjoon, your post is interesting. I haven’t been to Madangsui for a few years, but at least until some recent competitors opened, it was considered the best Korean BBQ place in Koreatown. I prefer Don’s Bogam because of one item: The chili-marinated galbi. Otherwise, I remember Madangsui as having an even better banchan than Don’s Bogam’s (which is also quite good) and delicious meat.

By the way, I don’t agree that only people for whom money is no object should go to Don’s Bogam. Two people can eat there for around $140-150 including tax and tip and a shared bottle of soju.

We went to Madangsui twice, in 2010 and 2011. The first time we went, I thought it was the best Korean restaurant I’d even eaten in. Everything was magical, the service absolutely attentive, everything comme il faut. A year later we returned with a friend to whom we wished to show off our “find.” But a year later everything had declined by a couple of orders of magnitude. Everything was ok. The food was ok. The service was just ok. But we felt tolerated, not appreciated. Haven’t been back.

I’m sorry to hear that. At least I can state that Don’s Bogam has not deteriorate, because I was last there in March.

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I think the last time I ate at Madangsui was nearly 10 years ago, and it was perfectly fine (it was late, soju was flowing, meat was grilling… that formula is hard to get wrong). Honestly I’ve probably only had Korean BBQ in Manhattan about 10 times in my life, and none in the past 5 years or so. I’m in Fort Lee/Pal Park often enough so I try to eat things that are unavailable in NJ when I’m in the city. I felt ok about suggesting Baekjeong though because I’ve been to other locations and they are pretty consistent.

I didn’t mean to say you can’t get out of Don’s or Cote without spending a ton, but just saying those options are there if OP wants to splurge. As far as I know, no one else has 100$ orders of meat at Korean BBQs.

Let me get back to you guys but thank you all for the info. I have a little research to do. @RGR wonderful pics! I will definitely get there ASAP if I don’t make it on this upcoming trip.


Although i’m vegetarian all my friends and family are omnis and over the years dons bogam became the go to. We’re always very happy with the food, service, and haven’t felt rushed or like they’re constantly upselling. Well, i’m also a fan of the makkoli they serve :wink:

While I love Korean barbecue, I also love vegetarian kimchi. By the way, how’s the job situation?

@corvette_johnny, Thanks for the compliment!

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I always ask for white kimchi eating out and just take my chances it’s fishless…
Thanks for asking, it’s been a lot of working on my portfolio (which i have to update constantly)and i have a little freelace from home thing that’s part time at the moment.

I wish you the best!!

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joonjoon, I totally understand why you wouldn’t come to Manhattan’s Koreatown if you live in Fort Lee!

Ttrockwood, best of luck to you!

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Hi guys! Long time!

Sorry I’m late here but this just popped up on my email just now. Madangsui was where I was telling friends where to go before it became “discovered”. As others have mentioned it’s deteriorated significantly. The NJ location was always better but that’s been replaced with “Taste 1080”, which in my opinion is the best Korean bbq in the tristate. I thought I was eating hanwoo (it wasn’t). Haven’t been to cote but have been recommending new wonjo since madangsui’s decline for a few years now.

Joonjoon is right. Takashi, if you’re going to splurge is significantly better. Japanese bbq is slightly different from Korean bbq as it’s Korean bbq adapted to fit Japanese tastes and ingredients (Most bbq places in Japan are owned and operated by Korean Japanese, much like Takashi). Now I’m not saying Japanese bbq is better than Korean bbq but I am saying the meat at takashi is of a much better quality. If you want to go easier on your wallet try sticking with their horumon (what Japanese call innards) offerings. It’s a favorite amongst the Japanese. Their beef tongue is great as well. If going with two, be sure to check ahead as I believe they don’t take reservations for two. Will need to be there before they open as a line formed when we went (we got lucky).

Hope everyone is doing well!!