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Yelp – my humble beginnings with Ktown

June 24th, 2011 Alina Guzman Dining out, Yelp Reviews 5 Comments

One fateful day last summer, I went online to, once again, pour over 100′s of reviews on Yelp to find the perfect place to have dinner that night. From the collection of Zagat’s sitting on my desk to the tabs of restaurants sitting on my browser, I realized I know a thing or two about food. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with New York. I’m grateful out of my mind for having grown up in this city, there’s never a dull moment. Restaurants with every cuisine you can imagine fill the streets and I pretty much dream of trying every single one of them. So back to that day last summer, when I got the idea in me that I’d share my experiences on Yelp. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Well I decided to start with something I know best – Ktown.

You can read all my new and old reviews on my Yelp profile, but I thought I’d start sharing some of them here. So far I have three lists up. The first one is Ktown Adventures! Here are a few of my reviews of this list.

“Koreatown is definitely one of my favorite places in the city. Here are the spots I just love to obsessively frequent.”

Shilla

I really like Shilla. Probably because it was the restaurant that popped my Ktown and Korean-food-in-general cherry many years ago! Its nothing super exciting or stand out great. Its just a normal Korean restaurant, one of many others on the block.

The food is very good, the price is very decent on the Ktown spectrum, not the highest, not the lowest, and the service is good. My very first time, I didn’t know what I was ordering or doing with the food and the waiter saw me struggling and went out of his way to explain things to me. What more can you ask for?

You won’t wait long, or at all, for the table- its a big restaurant. And it’s comfortable. Its basically a good choice if you’re looking for a moderately priced Korean restaurant in the city.

Pocha 32

REALLY fun place if you come with a group and order a ton of drinks. Beware, there will most likely be a wait. Unless you go at 6pm or something. I’ve actually gone so early that they were barely open and I somehow managed to stay until late at night- the change in crowd was amazing. It went from empty and quiet, to drunk, drunker and super drunk and crowded.

Anyway, when there is a long wait, you can just give your number down to the waiter who calls when the tables available. But if you’re in a hurry, don’t go there at night! Even weeknights were crowded, its a popular place.

The service isn’t fantastic. It gets really really really crowded in there and its loud and pretty dim so I can maybe understand it. I find that screaming out “excuse me” in Korean while they pass by really gets their attention! If you’re American, or just don’t speak Korean- its ‘jeogiyo’ pronounced more like “cho-gi-yo” for the American ear.

It gets pricey if you stay for a long time and keep ordering soju, as I find myself doing quite often. It won’t be expensive if you’re looking for a place to just eat some meat or soup though. Food’s not bad.

Be sure to leave a soju bottle cap on the ceiling, you will know what I’m talking about if you go.

I recommend it if you’re looking for a cool Korean experience (its definitely not an American style bar, for one thing- theres no bar).

 

Kang Suh Restaurant

This is by FAR my favorite restaurant in Ktown. I have been here dozens of times over the years and it never gets old. Its very big (two stories), so you can expect to get seated really fast- the only times I’ve had to wait was during dinner rush when I had a medium sized group, and even that wait was under 10 minutes. They also offer two large and private rooms for parties that I’ve used a few times (call in a reservation to make sure you can get it).

Its open 24 hours so its the first restaurant I think of after I’m exhausted from dancing. Been here several times at 4 or 5am and I’ve never been disappointed.

The prices are slightly higher than some of the other restaurants in Ktown but the food is worth it.

Dinner~ I’d say that the average amount I pay when I go there is $40 per person for dinner- counting drinks, two bottles of soju and up. Without drinks, you can pay as little as $15-$30, depending what you order of course. Side dishes are great. Pajeon and galbi are my favorite dishes to order. If you are ordering bbq, make sure you have at least two people who want it because its a two-minimum order for a table (but you can combine the meats- 1 galbi and 1 samgyopsal, for example, is fine).

Lunch~ Coming here for lunch is nice. Its not very crowded and they have a nice lunch menu. It ranges from $10-$20. They have great boxes! My favorite is the bulgogi box. It comes with salad and some other things that vary, like little fish balls.

They also have an amazing sushi bar to sit at. Over all, great place. Might get a little pricey, but foods good, and so is the service and the atmosphere.

4. Woorijip

Woorijip warms my heart. I love Ktown to death and I spend most of my time there but the prices do catch up with me! I’m a broke college student so sometimes, grabbing a bite in Ktown before debauchery doesn’t mean going to a restaurant, it means going to woorijip (which, if i’m not mistaken, means “our home” in Korean….i think).

Why 4 stars and not 5?

I’m the kind of person who prefers a restaurant atmosphere to a deli/buffet atmosphere- which is how Woorijip is- but you can’t play with these prices! I can order enough to fill me up so much that I can’t even finish eating for only $8-$15 bucks. Theres a microwave too. I like the kimbap (little Korean style sushi rolls) and bulgogi meals, for example. But theres a huge selection.

They also have cheap soju, which is the cheapest I’ve found in the city. (Go to Queens for the super super cheap soju). So grab a bottle, and the window seat if you’re lucky ~very crowded place~ and look at the passersby before the real fun of Ktown begins.

Space Billiard Café

||| I’m happy to say that my review of Space Billiard Cafe was featured in Yelp’s Weekly New York newsletter! Probably next to one of the most exciting days of my life when I saw it. |||

Best place ever.

It’s open 24 hours. It’s cheap ($15 per hour for the whole group, tiny bit more if you have more than 4 or 5 people). Its got free hot tea, cheap beer ($4!), and a door that leads to a scary fire escape for smokers! Win. Just don’t get drunk and fall off, please.

It offers normal tables and the no pocket tables for Korean style billiards games. I tried to play those…not easy, I’ll just stick to pocket ball haha. And theres also a bar if you just wanna sit and have a drink while your friends play.


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You can read the rest my reviews of Ktown Adventures here. :)

Disclaimer: Photos featured here were taken from the public profiles of these restaurants on Yelp.com which are thought to be public domain.

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