The Murray Hill subsection of Flushing, Queens is a fascinating drive. Each time here, both sides of Northern Boulevard and many of the other streets entice with so many Korean dining options that only someone who lives locally could ever fully explore. Each time one restaurant gets crossed off the list, at least two others get added. Such is the order in one of Queens's most delicious neighborhoods.
Bangane had been on said list for years before finally thrilling with its goat-heavy pleasures. Not immediately apparent from the menu, the focus here is a three course "black goat meat" meal. On the upper left section of the menu, find boiled black goat meat ($33.99/person), which in English anyways, is not the most tempting description. More on this below.
After ordering, many things start happening at once. In addition to the goat being prepared tableside, an array of fresh banchan arrive. These prove almost worth the price of admission already, featuring fresh, crisp kimchi, and spicy in-shell crab. On 32nd Street, I often see them pull these little dishes from pre-made stacks. Here it is the complete opposite.
As part of this phase, each diner is given a small bowl of cold pickle soup (above), as well as a spice mixture (below) used later for the goat. A basket of lettuce also arrives, as the goat is to be eaten wrapped if desired. Hunks of garlic and green peppers can also be added. The thin greens laced with vinaigrette of some kind in the background are so delicious that they can be mistaken as their own banchan dish, but they are also for adding to the goat.
The spice mixture is many things at once. It is smoky yet tangy, while not being overwhelmingly spicy. Also arriving with the banchan is the steamed egg casserole called gaeranjim. This version is lovely.
The boiled black goat meat is priced per person, but they must be used to it being split, as we ordered just one portion and they did not blink. It is a huge amount of food already, and a process that needs to be seen to understand. The next set of photos shows the bed of scallions on the steamer, the pre-boiled goat meat arriving and being cut tableside, added and steamed over the scallions, and mixed when ready to eat. At this point, take the leaves of lettuce and mix in the greens and spices as desired.
When you reach a certain point, as your stomachs begin to fill, they will transfer the remaining meat and scallions into a pot with broth to make stew. Once boiling, each person will be served a small bowl to eat.
For the third course, the remaining stew is mixed with rice and fried in the same pot. Every drip of goodness is contained from course one through three, and the rice is really tasty as a result. The trick here is saving enough room to enjoy it.
Also recommended is the excellent kimchi + dumpling casserole ($34.99, below), which arrived around the time we began but sat off to the side cooking while we enjoyed the goat. The casserole has tofu and is spiced by the kimchi, but the real magic is the unbelievably good dumplings within, seen larger below.
The right half of the menu is full of items to order a la carte, mostly soups, making this an excellent winter meal for any taste. The refrigerator is stocked with plenty of soju and beer, and you are bound to see many of your fellow patrons enjoying these. One man who seemed to have already enjoyed his fair share of soju descended on our table and bought another bottle for us to drink while he told us stories and offered proverbs.
After a couple rounds, he grabbed the rest of the bottle and returned to his dining companions a little more full of enjoyment. Later when we got up to leave, he walked us out and to our car. We thanked him for his hospitality and reveled in our good fortune to once again find such an amazing specialty on Northern Boulevard.