Awesome Goes Gagnam Style

After visiting Seoul, South Korea last year, I've been itching to try an authentic meal in NYC's Koreatown. However, since I got pretty sick after my last excursion there 4 years ago, I've been a bit hesitant. However, the friendly folks at Madangsui invited me and a friend to check out their Korean BBQ last week, and oh man am I hooked.

My place setting
Empty tables waiting to be filled with hungry people

We arrived at 6pm on a Thursday evening, fairly early for NYC, but I my mom was flying in later that night and I needed to be home early. By 7 the restaurant was jam packed, and by 7:30 I'm not sure there were any open tables available. David, the welcoming manager, explained the menu to us and recommended a wide variety of their specialties. Whenever I see different country-specific beverages on the menu, I have to go for it, so we ordered the Saeng Makkoli (14% alcohol), which came in a giant bowl with a ladle ($17). I would highly recommend this as an accompaniment to any spicy dishes because it's milky texture (note: there is no milk in it, just unfiltered fermented wheat and rice) helps balance the heat.

Saeng Makkoli ($14)

For an appetizer we ordered the pan-fried seafood pancake, Haemul Pajeon ($14.99), which I could have eaten and called it a day. The pancake had the perfect crispiness and the seafood wasn't 'fishy' like I often find it in lower-class restaurants. Two thumbs up on this one!

Haemul Pajeon ($14.99)

For our main course, we ordered the marinated beef combo for 2 ($82.99) which included: short rib (galbi), jumuluk (boneless short rib) and bulgogi with vegetables and mushrooms. Thankfully the waiters were helpful and basically cooked our whole meal (I was extra thankful for this because I almost burned down a Korean BBQ joint in Seoul when I was there...NOT KIDDING). When the meat was cooked, we were instructed to wrap it in a lettuce cup along with pickled radish and spicy bean curd sauce taco-style. Yum!

Along with our meat, we received 8 different small dishes called banchan, which are very characteristic of Korean dining. In addition to that, we received a large bowl of steamed egg (way tastier than I ever thought eggs could be) and a spicy soup meant to be shared around the table.

Marinated beef combo for 2 ($82.99)
My meat "taco" pre-wrapping
Steamed egg and spicy soup

We also sampled the hot pot bibimbap ($15.99) and OH MY KOREA this was amazing. I learned that I've been eating bibimbap wrong this whole time. I always would pick out the different vegetables and meats along with the rice. However, when our server mixed everything up, magic happened and all the flavors of everything combined to take me to my happy place. This is a must-order.

Hot pot bibimbap ($15.99)

So can you tell I loved my meal at Madangsui? Not only was the food amazing, but the service was impeccable. My friend who has been to a wider variety of restaurants in Koreatown than I have even said this might be her new favorite. I can't wait to go back!

So you know, Korean BBQ is 10% off from 4-7pm every day and Madangsui has some great lunch specials including: kimchi with short rib in a spicy broth ($9.99), dumpling Soup ($10.99), kimchi casserole with pork, ham, sausage and vegetable in a hot spicy soup ($10.99), as well as a selection of bibimbap and bulgogi ($11.99-$17.99).

Madangsui on Urbanspoon

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