NYCReview

photo credit: Will Hartman

a bucket of fried chicken with a yogurt sauce and caviar from Jeju Noodle Bar
7.8

Jeju Noodle Bar

RamenKorean

West Village

$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsDate NightCorporate Cards

The last time we were at Jeju Noodle Bar, we sat next to a long-distance couple who paused a tear-filled conversation on the future of their relationship to take a video of a noodle pull. We completely understood. The food at this West Village restaurant is supremely eye-catching—imagine leafy herbs on glistening crudo, a layer of pickled onions and shaved radish atop a bowl of jajangmyeon, and a giant dollop of caviar with your bucket of fried chicken. The Edison bulbs above and perfectly tuned LED lamps on every table provide optimal lighting for your next social media post. And for the most part, the Korean small plates here taste as good as they look.

the exterior of jeju noodle bar, which has a neon sign that says "Coffee, no, Noodles, Yes!"

photo credit: Will Hartman

We particularly like the raw fish dishes, like a jogae muchim that explodes in your mouth as if the clams and red snapper were garnished with dill-and-brine-flavored Pop Rocks. But if you assumed the hand-made noodles at a noodle bar would be the best part of your meal, you’d be wrong. Some options are good—like the lamb jajangmyeon, in a meaty sauce that’s simmered for hours—but others can be inconsistent, especially for a place with a neon sign outside that reads “Coffee No, Noodles Yes.” 

You don’t need to run to Jeju Noodle Bar—and you won’t be able to, reservations are released a month in advance and snapped up quickly. But it’s a good option for a casually expensive date night in the area if you're ready to drop around $100 per person. Just turn off your table lantern and let the evening revolve around some good raw fish and a glass of a limited-yield Burgundy, aerated through a Coravin, instead of your phone camera.

Food Rundown

fluke crudo at Jeju Noodle Bar

photo credit: Will Hartman

Fluke Hwe

Beautifully cut fluke in a sauce that sort of tastes like the best possible version of Newman’s Own Italian dressing. It’s light, it’s breezy, it’s an excellent starter.
a piece of fried chicken with a yogurt sauce and a dollop of caviar

photo credit: Will Hartman

Jeju Fried Chicken

A few things are really working for Jeju Noodle Bar’s fried chicken: The ceramic bucket it’s served in. The tangy, yogurt sauce, laced with burnt onion powder, that comes alongside. What isn’t working is the dollop of caviar, which seems to be there simply for aesthetic purposes. The hot, shatteringly-crusty fried chicken obliterates any nuance of the fish eggs.
jogae muchim, with poached clams, dill, and snapper at Jeju Noodle Bar

photo credit: Will Hartman

Jogae Muchim

If Pop Rocks were a clam crudo, they’d taste like this. So much dill, so much freshness, the clams are fat and juicy, and the fresh chiles are a great counterpoint.
lamb ja jang myun with pickled and raw vegetables and leafy herbs

photo credit: Will Hartman

Lamb Ja Jang Myun

Like a lamb Sunday gravy with a bit of a gochujang smolder. This flavorful dish feels carefully prepared, with chewy noodles, and lots of pickled veggies to balance out the meatiness.

Gochu Ramyun

The gochu ramyun looks thick and rich, with an emulsified, opaque bone broth, slices of glistening pork belly, a puddle of a fermented chili paste, and thin noodles poking through. Sadly, the flavor doesn’t match the facade, with the broth sliding right off the noodles, and the promise of spice left unfulfilled.

FOOD RUNDOWN

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