Before we jumped in to Infatuation full time, we used to spend our days trapped in Midtown, trying to find places to eat that didn't make us sad. Many of those meals ended up taking place at Danji, which remained in our heavy lunch rotation from 2011 when we wrote our first official review up until last summer.
Now that we work in the East Village, we don't find ourselves at Danji quite as often. But it is the place we recommend most when people ask us where to have lunch in Midtown or Times Square - even with the arrival of a few other high quality options like Ippudo. Danji is just that place that you can almost always get into, and that will always be really good. You just have to know what to expect.
If you're familiar with Korean food, the menu at Danji will be pretty straightforward. This is definitely Korean in the David Chang style, meaning lots of interpretations and interesting influences that show up in what are otherwise traditional Korean flavors. If you've had lunch at Momofuku Ssam, you've seen this playbook before.
That said, there isn't much variety on the menu. Don't bring someone who's just looking for a light salad or something that will work with their Miami Caveman protein-only diet. Bring someone who's looking to go HAM on bulgogi sliders and bibimbap and then spend the rest of the day sleeping in the office. That's how you do Danji. As a matter of fact, that's how you do life in the corporate world. I kind of miss those days.
Bites of yellowtail sashimi with vinegar and jalapeño in a spicy Korean sauce. You want it.
So good you'll want to eat them all. As in all of the sliders they have in the kitchen.
Some of the best wings you'll find in this part of town, made with garlic, soy, honey, and sesame. They're crispy on the outside, incredibly moist on the inside, and damn near perfect. Only four come per order, so you might will want to consider two orders.
A Danji classic. These crispy veggie dumplings absolutely need to be on your table, and make sure to put lots of the ponzu sauce they come with on top. Also note that they usually arrive at the table at a temperature of about 750 degrees fahrenheit. Blow on them lightly before consuming.
The lunch menu at Danji has several bibimbap options, each topped with different meats or veggies. We're partial to the spicy pork and the kimchi pork, though the bulgogi option is also delicious. We understand there to be a veggie and sashimi version as well, though our vision has usually been blurred by slider consumption by this point so we have not had them. Proceed with confidence in any case.
Want to eat something delicious and then feel pretty awful about yourself? This fried rice from Danji's is a good way to go. Topped with a soft scrambled egg and, well, spam, this is one heavy duty thing to split on a date.