The Bulgogi Cart on 49th St. (Finally, a proper review…)
Who says 4 posts about a mediocre Bulgogi cart is overkill??? (Clearly you didn’t see me the week Chipotle opened in my building) Well, I said on Monday I would post more info about the food- but I promise this is the last one (until the $1 “bulgogi sandwiches” arrive in a few weeks). I wanted to post some real pictures of the cart, and tell you a little bit about what they’re doing along with a proper +/-. Despite the $1 Bulgogi Sandwiches not being available, what they are serving is a pretty amazing deal.
They have Bulgogi (Korean BBQ’d beef) or Chicken, served with rice, & salad for $5. But here’s the real kicker… they throw in a drink for free! (Soda or water) It is a pretty amazing deal. The menu has spicy and non-spicy versions of each of the two dishes posted, but if you order it “spicy” they just give you a cup of red hot sauce to pour over it yourself. They also give you a very small cup of kimchi (fermented cabbage), which is a real nice touch.
What I ordered, a picture of the not yet available $1 bulgogi sandwiches, and the +/- after the jump…
The first weird thing I noticed about the meal was the rice. It is yellow. I’ve never had yellow rice at a Korean restaurant before. Very strange. It would have been forgivable if the rice hadn’t been crunchy (and not in that good Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap kind of way). I’m not sure if they undercooked it, or if they scraped it off the side of the pan- but it was pretty bad. Of course, it was their first real day of business, so I’m sure they will iron out that kink as time goes on. The bulgogi had a nice flavor, but it was not chopped up very well, so it highlighted the poor quality of the meat. (Bulgogi is made with fatty meat, but you need to chop it up into little pieces to mask that. They didn’t do this very well). There was also no onions or scallions, which was a bummer.
The salad was pretty good, and the kimchi was a welcome addition. They don’t give you a ton of it, but it was of a pretty good quality. The hot sauce I wasn’t so into. It looked like the red bean paste sauce you get with Bi Bim Bap (Gochu jang), but it had more of a red chili pepper flavor- like something you would get at a BBQ joint. It was really spicy, and really strange. I had one bite with the sauce, and then tossed it. If you like your food super spicy, you may like the sauce. I believe it is called ssamjang. I’ve never had it at a Korean restaurant before, but apparently it is authentic.
All in all, for $5 it’s a great deal (especially with the free soda)- but I can’t help but thinking Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart on 46th St. had better Bulgogi. Sure you don’t get a free soda or kimchi, and it’s an extra $1- but sometimes that extra buck is worth it (you get white rice, and there are scallions in the bulgogi). I haven’t given up yet though… it’s only their first week, and I’m sure it will get better. PLUS I have high hopes for the $1 Bulgogi Sandwiches. I’m sure they don’t fill you up, but from the looks of the picture, I’m thinking it may end up being the greatest snack of all time.
- $5 gets you bulgogi, rice, salad, kimchi and a free soda (or water). A better deal cannot be had in all of Midtown.
- The flavor of the bulgogi is spot on.
- The kimchi is good, and a nice addition (although they don’t give you that much)
- If you like your food super spicy, they give you ssamjang on the side to add to your bulgogi
- The rice was terrible (but it was their first day, so it will probably get better. If you try it, feel free to comment on the progress below)
- The low quality of the meat was highlighted by the fact that they didn’t cut up the bulgogi well enough
- The hot sauce is not the sauce they give you with Bi Bim Bap so be careful if you are not into red chili pepper spiciness
The Infamous Disappearing Bulgogi Cart, 49th St. btw. 6 & 7th