It's not often you get to dine in a restaurant on the top floor of a skyscraper overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The last time I was lucky enough to score this kind of view for a chew was senior prom at Windows On The World, may it rest in peace. Becky Chase, what up girl? Remember that night? Me neither. So when we heard about a modern Korean restaurant on the 39th floor of an office building bordering on K-Town, what do we do? Get over there.
We rolled into Gaonnuri knowing nothing other than that it was up high and served Korean food. Unlike your typically divey K-Town establishments, this restaurant is about as sparkling and immaculate as it gets. It's a massive space with multiple rooms and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the bright Manhattan lights. Eats with a view, indeed.
Gaonnuri is a bit like a restaurant from WALL•E, with waiters carrying around iPads and wearing ear pieces. The menu at Gaonurri is nuts - it's nearly seven pages long, covering all the Korean bases, plus a $105, seven course tasting menu for those who ball hard. The dishes from those many pages are hit or miss. Some, like the steak tartare, are awesome. But others, like a dry bossam and an underwhelming bibimbap are let downs. The pace and overall service also tends to be a bit weird, and interactions with with wait staff can be awkward. Must be the iPads.
Although it's right around the corner from Madison Square Garden, you won't find us hanging at Gaonurri before a Knicks game or a One Direction concert. At the end of the day, this is only a restaurant we'd return to for the right occasion. Like prom.
Gaonnuri does beautiful work with their plating. We were quite impressed with how dramatic many of the dishes appear. This bright red beef tartare started us off right. The meat was fresh out of the grinder, topped with Korean pear. If you enjoy eating raw beef, then this is a must.
You know we're going to try the Korean pancake sampler. The fish pancake was our favorite. I have no clue exactly what it was made with, but there were a whole bunch of crazy flavors going on. The beef and vegetable ones were pretty standard.
Worst dish of the night. The steamed pork was really dry - so much so we were shocked it actually made its way onto a plate. On the bright side, the kimchee that came with this dish was excellent.
These short ribs were amazing, as is anything that comes in Gaonurri's "signature soy sauce." Order this.
We generally love bibimbap, but Gaonnuri's was a big let down. The beef was dry, as was the rice. And there wasn't enough spicy sauce to pull it all together.
A pretty bland dumpling soup with rice cakes, beef, and scallions. For $18, you should definitely pass on this.
This was our favorite dish here. Our cod was cooked perfectly, but it was the sauce that put it over the top. You could put this tasty soy-based marinade on anything and it would taste good. Even vegetables.
A Noodle soup of sorts made with thin sweet potato noodles in a spicy chili beef broth with pear, cucumber, and some slices of beef brisket. This wasn't very memorable. We liked the idea of sweet potato noodles more than the reality of sweet potato noodles.
We didn't go there, mainly because this place is so proper it almost seems weird to fire up the grill in the middle of your table and get dirty. But the menu is stacked with impressive meats that looked pretty damn good. So, if you can afford it, go nuts.