>> Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ | Eat the World NYC

06 January 2018

Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ


An English speaker not prone to ask many questions might walk into Han Joo and think no more about ordering anything besides the BBQ. In winter at least, it is what every table is doing, so why not follow suit? The only hint of other specialties is that cartoon bowl of noodles on the awning, actually there to represent the Korean name of the restaurant: Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ.

In that version, the BBQ almost seems to be an afterthought, but the big bright pictures of duck in the window speak otherwise. The curiosity here is actually their method of grilling, which takes place on a radiating hot slab of what they call "crystal" (below).

When table turnover is high, these blocks stay hot all night. One group finishes, the block is washed and brought back out carefully for a new table, with warnings to everyone to watch their fingers. The gas blaze underneath is lit, and meats can be immediately added with no wait time.

Those photos of different duck preparations in the window are a good hint, it is their finest cut of meat, available in thin (ori dae pae, $21.95) and thick (ori los, $21.95) slices. The servers will prepare everything for you, so sit back and watch out for the spattering in these close confines.

The slight angle of the crystal slab is perfect for catching all the fatty juices from the cooking meats, which is accomplished by the sour kimchi they bring out for any BBQ order. The thin slices are placed first, and these give up their treasures to the kimchi quickest. Wait for the server's ok before grabbing any meat, they will let you know when it is ready to eat. Go too fast, and you might get a scolding.

An array of average banchan is placed on the table as well, providing great opportunities for different temperatures and textures in each bite, as well as thin slices of sweet pickled daikon which pair with the duck almost other-worldly. Good dipping sauce, oils, and pepper is also provided for each customer, causing the table to be almost comically cluttered.

They'll make any size group work, but best to limit yourselves to six. The crystal slab is not large enough to accommodate larger tables than that, and the intimacy of this setting would be lost.

Pork belly (saeng sam gyup sal, $20.95, below) is always tempting, and here it is obviously not bad, but we've had it better in other locations.

That being said, a group of six does have a little room to wiggle in an order, and one plate of those silky slabs won't hurt. I mean, just look at them. As they cook up and shrink a bit, the server will cut everything up into bite size morsels.

Not pictured is the good galbi ($27.95), a prime cut of short rib that is already marinated with the "chef special sauce" and almost begs to remain untouched by those common table sauces and accoutrement. Knowing the group could probably force down one more dish, the server suggested their very good hae mul pa jeon ($12.95), a seafood pancake with an assortment of different creatures and scallions within.

Go ki goon man doo ($9.95, below) is another good order for rounding out a BBQ meal. These are the fried meat version, but you can also have steamed and kimchi renditions, and an order "unlocks" the man doo sauce, which can be enjoyed with other meats as well.

Both of the visits here so far have taken place during frigid nights, so appetites veered away from an order of the naeng myun, the North Korean cold noodle dish in the restaurant's name. A summer update will be forthcoming, stay tuned.

UPDATE: It happened! And it's delicious!

Chik naeng myun

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