Thursday, August 28, 2008


GobDol BiBimBap

With commodity prices continuing to soar, finding a healthy and affordable meal in Midtown has gone from slight challenge to near impossibility. However for those who are fortunate enough to have easy access to Koreatown, and are willing to spend around $8-12 for lunch, can choose from among at least a dozen different delicious and fairly authentic Korean establishments.

Now as most American are still relatively unfamiliar with Korean cuisine, I find that many Korean-American restaurants, are really nothing more than Korean diners. That is to say just as the prototypical American diner has its encyclopedic menu with "served 24/7," breakfast menu, BLTs and chicken fried streak, etc. Probably 95% of the Korean joints in the US have similarly thick and generic menus, with the standards of BiBimBap, BBQ meats, amongst a hundred other variations of stuff with veggie, protein, and loads of red pepper derivatives. Yet despite this seemingly cookie cutter nature, there are places that distinguish themselves through the care with which they prepare and serve their food. HanBat among my personal favorites in K-town, is one such place.

HanBat executes standard Korean fare with a consistency sometimes lacking in some of its neighbors a few blocks south on 32nd St. Little details such as regularly rotating panchan (which btw are side dishes, not appetizers!) make each meal unique.

HanBat's PanChan

On a recent visit, my wife and I stuck with the standards, and ordered the GobDol BiBimBap and KimChi ChiGae. Both were just what we were looking for in the severely hungover state in which we were in. Again the little touches showed through, as my BiBimBap was served along with a large (complimentary) serving of SolLongTang, which is a wonderfully slow cooked beef/marrow broth and noodles. While the BiBimBap itself was composed of a wonderful assortment of various veggies, which were really just a hodgepodge of other forms of panchan. Meanwhile my wife's KimChi ChiGae (KimChi and Slice Pork Soup) had a soul full homeyness that would make any Korean mother proud.

To be sure there are places in the city, even K-Town that excel at their house specialties, like GahmMiOak for their SolLongTang, or say BonChon or Baden Baden for their Chicken, but for the best overall "Korean Diner," experience, HanBat is hard to beat.

KimChi ChiGae

As HanBat is open 24/7, anytime is a good time to go, however as the lunch specials are very reasonable, lunch is probably the best time.

53 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001
(near 6th Ave)

1 comment:

danny said...

this looks amazing! it will go on my list as the next korean joint to visit. thanks!