Alcoholic light-up Capri Suns. Sweet potato fries with sriracha goat cheese. Beet-cured salmon sushi. Edamame truffle oil dumplings. An eel taco.
Is this the proposed cocktail hour menu for a fancy bar mitzvah catered by a former Chopped contestant? Possibly. But it’s also a list of things you can get to eat at Thursday Kitchen.
At this point, depending on how jaded you are, you may either be thinking, “That sounds f*cking awesome, I can’t wait to Instagram it,” or “Oh, god.” Maybe you’re feeling a bit of both.
And that’s OK. As you’re probably sensing, Thursday Kitchen is a lively restaurant, with a pretty quirky menu. But don’t get the idea that this is some neon-covered gimmick, because it’s actually almost the opposite. The dishes here are small plates of Korean comfort food, all priced at $12 or less, which feels like a steal based on how large and how good so many of them are. There is “kimchi paella,” yes, but there is also a perfectly executed sliced steak, a killer soft shell crab with wasabi dipping sauce, a cold soba topped with tuna, and a fantastic take on a Korean seafood pancake. You can afford to order a lot of them, and you absolutely should.
The drinks here are limited to wine, beer, sake, and soju, which, by the way, is what those alcoholic light-up Capri Suns are filled with, so Thursday Kitchen may not be the spot for a night of heavy drinking. (The Capri Suns are a little sweet after round one.) But if you’re looking for a restaurant that’s fun and affordable, with food that’s way better than it needs to be, Thursday Kitchen should be on your list. Wash down your jaded ways with a light-up plastic bag full of booze.
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As discussed, the cocktail of choice here is soju mixed with fruits and soda, served in a plastic bag. As if that weren’t enough, they put a light-up plastic cube in there too. One of them is called “Ms. Cutetini.” Order with pride.
Can you serve sliced avocado on a plate and call it a dish? Yes, if you cover it in a tasty sauce and pickled radish.
Soft Shell Crab
All soft shell crabs should henceforth come with a wasabi dipping sauce. This is great.
Angry Sweet Potato
Essentially sweet potato fries with an enjoyable Sriracha goat cheese dip. Order this over the Ugly Potato, which comes covered in BBQ sauce and American cheese and kind of seems like it belongs more in a sports bar.
Possibly the best $12 steak you can get in New York. Maybe the only $12 steak you can get in New York? We liked the cheesy grits it comes with as well.
Crispy Korean fried chicken with a sweet and spicy sauce. Very solid.
Cold soba topped with raw tuna. Nothing to be mad about here.
A thick, crispy griddled pancake filled with seafood. Do you like seafood and potato pancakes? You will enjoy this.
Covered in a Korean chili pepper sauce, this is a take on the Korean dish dukbokki, which is made with rice cakes. The gnocchi don’t work quite as well, and the sauce seems a little off - feel free to pass on these.
Not one, but two waiters identified these dumplings as an “umami explosion.” They’re definitely a flavor explosion, but with truffle oil, citrus, and pepper, against the fairly bland edamame, these are… a lot. Don’t feel that you’re missing out on a highlight if you skip these.