Tag: Madangsui

Madangsui BBQ

Friday, January 25th, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Friends

SC, CS and I met in Koreatown ostensibly to celebrate a belated birthday and recent professional successes, but as often happens when the girls and I get together, the evening’s conversation quickly turned to our personal lives. (Hey, men do it too… don’t they?)

We were on West 35th Street to check out the new(ish) Manhattan outpost of Madangsui — a popular Fort Lee, New Jersey Korean barbecue restaurant. At just before 8 on a Friday night, the entrance was packed with mostly Korean diners; we ended up waiting about half an hour to be seated, during which our appetites were whetted by the tantalizingly smoky scent of barbecuing meats — a scent which I carried in my hair and clothes for hours afterwards.


When at last the hostess called our names, springing us from waiting list purgatory, we were led to a table with a sunken grill. We placed our order promptly, kicking off a parade of panchan, the quantity and variety of which I’ve never quite experienced before. In addition to the usual kimchi variations, there was a potato salad (someday I’ll find out how this anachronistic item came to become a standard offering in Korean restaurants), mini pa jun, and a small plate of blue crab, which was served raw, like a ceviche, bathed in gochujang (spicy, fermented pepper paste). By the time our jap chae and raw meats arrived with their accompanying lettuce leaves, every available inch of table top was filled.

Crab panchan

The Saeng Galbi (“fresh butterflied all natural short rib”) – pictured below – was tender and delicious. Likewise the Sam Gyup Sal (sliced fresh pork belly strips) – ¼ inch thick slabs of meat that had the appearance of bacon.

Kalbi BBQ

Through it all, our servers were attentive, manning the grill and bringing us yet more panchan as space allowed, including bowls of chigae (bean paste casserole) and gyeran jjim (the steamed egg dish I tasted for the first time at Kunjip).

It was all more than the three of us could finish. We left the restaurant laden with ample leftovers and new missions.

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