My husband's mama loves her some korean food. For special occasions, we like to bring her to try different korean restaurants in New York City. There are little koreatowns sprouting all over. There is one in Flushing, in Woodside (live octopus at Sik Gaek!) and a big one in Fort Lee (New Jersey). We've tried them all but midtown Manhattan remains the most convenient for us even though it does not offer the best korean food. So out of convenience, we took Dave's mom there for Mother's day. Not wanting to eat at the same old place, we choose to go to Cho Dang Gol based on a friend's recommendation. This place looks rustic, feels cozy and exudes authenticity. Their slogans: "Cho Dang Gol, the authentic taste of regional korean cuisine" is very convincing and "the most famous korean restaurant in New York city" made me wonder why I have never heard of this place before. We rarely venture off Korea street (32nd street) which is a big mistake since there are so many good restaurants close by.
I'm a fan of sundubu jjigae (tofu stew) and almost order it whenever we try a new korean restaurant. I thought the tofu at Cho Dang Gol was actually flavorful compared to what I have tried elsewhere. I am no tofu expert but I know good tofu when I taste it! Cho Dang Gol is known to be one of the first restaurant to serve bean curd to Manhattan since 1997. It's got to be good if it has been around for this long! Other restaurant serve fresh tofu daily as well (BCD Tofu for example) but I personally think that Cho Dang Gol's tofu taste better.
We also tried the Dol Sot Bibimbap with beef. If a restaurant can't make the most typical korean comfort food taste good then they can't make anything else right, right? It was good! Someone's recommendation was to try the Spicy Galbi Jjim with rice cakes. Dave thought it was too sweet while I thought the beef was not tender enough; and Dave's mom was just not impressed with the rice cakes. Gosh we're so picky. Finally, we ordered some BBQ ribs just to make sure we got enough vitamin B12 that day.
Despite our picky criticism, this place is filled up every night for a good reason. I would certainly go back when I am craving spicy sundubu. But mostly, we can also stay away from Korea street which is usually crowded and annoying with no outstanding restaurants to try anymore. I also feel like a grandma when I walk up and down that street with all the younglings hanging out. And what's up with all the young asian men in suits with well-coiffed hair standing around? I always joke that they are gigolos but really, who knows. I sound so old....
Thanks for reading xx