I’m trying to keep up with the glorified food court trend sweeping NYC. So I set forth north-east into the one-block radius that NY has endearing named Korea Town (K-Town). Just east of Herald Square on 32nd street all the way to about Madison, you’ll find a mecca of Korean restaurants, dumpling bars, frozen yogurt, and karaoke bars. Their newest member, Food Gallery 32 has about seven individual restaurants that offer a slight variation from the next. The Village Voice blog did a great job of outlining their offerings:
Seven restaurants occupy the main floor. There’s Boon Sik Zip, which offers primarily Korean sushi and fried snacks. Pastel serves up various cutlets and an assortment of spaghetti dishes. De-Ppang nods more to Japan with its selection of donburi, teppan-yaki, and rice balls. Bian Dang (formerly known as the Cravings truck) is selling its beloved Taiwanese snacks as well as heartier dishes like fried chicken and pork chops over rice. Big Bowl features a variety of Japanese- and Korean-style noodle dishes, from ramen and soba to bibim-guksu. Hanok offers a sort of greatest-hits of Korean fare, from pajun to bulgogi. And, finally, Jin Jja Roo offers Chinese-influenced Korean dishes (shrimp fried rice or jja jang myon, a noodle dish in black bean sauce). The second level is devoted to seating and also has a cell phone shop, should you realize you need a new mobile phone while eating kimchi.
I was pretty overwhelmed with the offerings and the extensive digital menu boards with ingredients I’m barely familiar with. A place called Pastel had kimchi on the menu so I thought that was safe. The women recommended the kimchi omelette, even better, I know omelettes!
I took my tray up to the second level and dug in. As you can see from the pictures, it was about the size of a burrito with this delicious sweet, ketchup-y like sauce ontop, with some spicy dabs of, I’m assuming Sriracha. Once I broke into the egg packet a steaming aroma of rice, pea, carrots, and pickled kimchi hit my nose. A great, gooey texture that I had no problem plowing through. As I dined I noticed my surroundings. A kind of food court of the future, with glass panels, digital menu boards, freeze cases with take-home containers of Kimchi and among all this cultural diversity I found an ironic comfort as I stared up at the wall in front of me and the MANGIARE, the Italian verb ‘to eat’ was staring me right in the face. The word took on a personification and kept me company as I completed my meal.
My lesson learned, always try new things, but don’t go too far from your roots.