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Korean

Korean/ lunch/ nyc

Reliving the Bon Chon Experience at Boka

Photo: By Joel Raskim at Joel’s Photo-A-Day

Walking in the East Village on St. Marks street, it is inevitable to feel like you have been transported to another world made up of grilled chicken sticks, pomegranate-flavored yogurt covered with fruit, and falafel sandwiches. The restaurants, clothing stores, and tattoo parlors are stacked on top of each other with little room to expand and grow. NYU, Cooper Union, Parsons kids roam this area because the street is inundated with cheap eats and drinks. This street is constantly changing as one old dated restaurant closes and another new trendy restaurant opens.

A fairly recent addition to St. Marks is Boka, a restaurant that serves Korean fried chicken (Bon Chon). The Korean fried chicken trend has caught onto American soil; it has been featured in the New York Times, and numerous Korean fried chicken restaurants have been popping up left and right. The last time I had bon chon was about three years ago, so that means it is time to refresh my memory of what it tastes like.

These are their spicy wings. The outside is crispy and the inside is not fatty at all. Even though they are not that spicy, they are good enough so you can taste the little kick of heat in your tongue. As I would put it, they are “finger-lickin’ good”. I want to order more, but I decide to be more health conscious and order myself kimchi chi gae.

Kimchi chi gae is one of the best things to eat on a snowy day – hot soup filled with kimchi, pork and vegetables. To my surprise I find that Boka’s version is the spiciest and sourest chi gae I have ever had at a Korean restaurant. I consume this dish fairly quickly, leaving me full and satisfied.

Will I go back to Boka again? Probably. Even though they don’t give you ban chon, Korean appetizer of small dishes, like most other Korean restaurants do, I find Boka’s food to be tasty. Flavors are strong and pleasing to my mouth. Finger-lickin’ good.

More restaurants that serve bon chon:
Bon Chon Chicken NYC
Bonchon Chicken

dinner/ Korean/ nyc

In Remembrance of Persimmon

Kimchi and Sides
My friend approaches me for a restaurant suggestion and asks, “So I have about four people for dinner tonight. Where do you think we should go? Nothing crazy.”
“I like Persimmon. It’s Neo Korean, East Village”, I say.
A few minutes later she tells me that Persimmon is closed. CLOSED.
“Wait you mean permanently?”

I quickly type into Google “Persimmon restaurant nyc” and see that all articles show that it is closed for good. It makes me sad because I had some great dishes there and it even got one star on the New York Times. Who else is surprised about this?

As I reminisce I feel the need to share this wonderful restaurant experience with you.  The reason why I wanted to try Persimmon was because I was intrigued by the idea of Neo Korean cuisine. Kimchi, bulgogi, soondubu jiigae, these items are all familiar to me. Neo Korean? What does that look and taste like? I had to go to find out. Even when they first opened, they received a lot of press because the chef Young sun Lee cooked at places like Momofuku and EN Japanese Brasserie. Their menu had a cheap prix fix dinner for $37, and it changed often; there were a variety of dishes for a reasonable price. Here are photos of their food:

From top to bottom:
Crab Kimchi croquette (Gae Goroggae) – Crabmeat, potato, kimchi, bread crumbs, flour, egg, cream, tobiko (flying fish roe), port wine, and soy sauce
Sauteed Vegetables and Sweet Potato noodle (Jab Chae) – Sweet potato, noodles, cucumber, carrot, pyo go (shiitake), onion woo eong (gobo), and sweet pepper
Grilled Octopus salad (Moon Eo Goo Yi Salada) – Octopus, water chestnut, shallot, pickled mae sil (asian plum), garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon, olive oil, soy sauce, and pepper flakes
Tofu Stew with Seafood (Hae Mool Soon Du Bu Jji Gae) – Silken tofu, spicy house dashi, baby octopus, shrimp, littleneck clam, kimchi, quail egg, and scallions
Bread Pudding With Black Sesame Seed Sauce – Bread, cream, mak gul ri (korean traditional sake), black sesame seed, honey, egg, and sugar
Ginger Tofu Mousse With Honey Sauce – Ginger, soy milk, silken tofu, honey, and white wine
Though this restaurant is short-lived I believe it made an impact on New Yorkers. It shows us that Korean food is still evolving, and there are chefs that continue to explore this cuisine. I would like to highlight some other restaurants in NYC that are exploring Korean cuisine:
Farewell Persimmon! It has been a enjoyable and scrumptious dining experience.