Banchan by Sunny image

Banchan by Sunny


Lower East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate NightEating At The BarSmall Plates

When you find it difficult to stop eating, that’s when you know a place is special. That’s how we feel when we’re at Banchan by Sunny, which is popping up at Peoples Wine in The Market Line until early spring. Unsurprisingly, the focus here is on small Korean side dishes, and you can get a curated selection of seven for $25 or all of them for $45.

Sunny Lee, who started this pop-up, likes to come up with new banchan whenever inspiration strikes, so don’t be surprised if a few off-menu items are available when you visit. Of the regular menu items, the giardiniera, roasted eggplant, and peppery blanched potato strips with whipped pine nuts are the standouts—but trying only these three things would be a mistake.

Unlike Chex Mix with its squiggly breadsticks, the dishes here don’t have any components that you could accuse of being bland. The preserved perilla leaves on the side of the grilled hiramasa collar and the white kimchi that comes with the hwe are packed with flavor, even though they’re essentially garnishes. Speaking of the hwe, the raw fluke, bitter coraline chicory, and vinegary gochujang sauce really come together nicely.

But the best dish here is the tteok guk. If we had the means to do truly ridiculous things, we’d demand to have this rice cake, daikon, and short rib soup brought to us at the slightest sign of any illness (real or imagined). Your last slurp of the rich and meaty broth will leave you with the same feeling you get when you finish a great movie and realize the sequel is probably three years away.

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