We heard about Kunjip from an esteemed member of Infatuation Nation, Jenny, who recently pointed out that we have very few (she doesn't count Momofuku Ssäm) Korean restaurants reviewed on our website and offered to properly school us on the cuisine she grew up on. That's an offer we don't refuse.
We were promptly dispatched to K-Town to hit up Jenny's favorite Korean restaurant in Manhattan, Kunjip. Excellent stews, soups, and pancakes is what we were told to expect, and guess what? Jenny was not wrong.
Everything at Kunjip is highly delicious, and you can eat like a king for a very reasonable price. One thing you should know - you don't come to Kunjip for the wonderful service, you come to get down on some real Korean eats, and fast. Kunjip is a well oiled machine, and it's no secret that they're rushing you through your meal to get the next table of panting onlookers seated. Your first round of food will hit the table within a few seconds of ordering, and the check will be delivered upon first hint of slowing down on your entrees.
As a matter of fact, your meal might go by so fast that you'll find yourself pounding your OB as you walk out the door. That kind of efficiency is actually great if you're in search of a quick meal before a game or show at Masison Square Garden. Arrive at 6:15 before the rush, grab a table without a wait, and be out by 7:00 with plenty of time to spare.
A fan favorite, and an excellent item to start with and share.
These are some of the crispiest dumplings you will ever eat, and you will want more than one order. Don't fight it.
Momofuku Ssäm set the bar pretty high in the rice cake game, but these more traditional Korean rice cakes seem to be bigger, softer, and even spicier. With a table of people who dig spicy stuff? Get after it. It's going to take an army to take this whole dish of pan-fried cakes down.
Deep, meaty flavors make this casserole soup/stew one of the most popular orders at Kunjip. We were a little confused about how to eat it, as it comes in a big crock-pot with tiny spoons and chop sticks for serving. We dumped a bunch over the incredibly tasty purple rice that accompanies and went to town. Is that how you do it? Hope so.
This is rice on a heated stone pot with assorted veggies, ground beef, and egg. Mix it all up with some red chili paste and it's quite the treat. Definitely order one of these if you like to get your spice on.
If you do decide to go grill, here's what Jenny has to say about ordering and execution: Get the Heuk Sam Gyup Sahl (black pork belly/bacon) or Galbi (marinated short rib). After you grill the meat, make sure you get the kimchi fried rice. Order two different things and they'll grill it up for you at the table. Put the meat in the red leaf lettuce, top it off with the scallion salad and top that off with the soy bean paste. If you're daring, put slice of garlic on top. Roll it up and stuff it in your mouth!