Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart Gets a Proper Look See

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I don’t know who Kim is, or his Aunt, but they have a pretty awesome cart.  I first wrote about this place months ago, when the Bulgogi Cart first appeared on 49th St.  Brand new, and so full of promise, I was excited for Bulgogi Sandwich, and cheap Korean food from a cart.  And then, it disappeared.  Frantic, I found myself wandering the streets in search of something… and by coincidence, Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart had just hung a handmade sign, touting their very own bulgogi.

I tried it, and remembered thinking it was good, but not as good as it could be.  It turned out to be better than the actual Bulgogi Cart on 49th, but not as good as the version Cafe Duke serves on 51st.  Even so, it was from a cart- and Kim’s Aunt Kitchen earned a place on my list of return lunches.  They had a pretty extensive menu of fried seafood, and random Chinese dishes like Lo Mein, but the draw for me was definitely the Bulgogi.

Flash forward a few months, and the cart gets picked by NY Mag as one of the best carts in NYC… for their Fried Fish Sandwich.  Fried Fish Sandwich you say?  Methinks it’s time to revisit Kim’s Aunt.  So back I went for the $3.50 fried whiting sandwich… or what I now come to think of as “The Best Bargain in Midtown”.

Fishy sandwich porn and a +/- after the jump…

They have flounder, and sometimes maybe other fish (?) but NY Mag spoke highly of the whiting, and it is the cheapest- so who am I to argue with that?  In the same family as smelts, whiting is also sometimes referred to as hake or pollock.  It’s basically just a plain white fish.  Cheap, and not a strong flavor of anything but fish.  In other words- the type of thing you’re gonna wanna fry.  I ordered, and watched him put the thing together.

I was pretty sure this was going to end up being two different sandwiches but was taken aback when he pulled the fold over move.  In disbelief, my brain tried to wrap itself around the situation.  “You mean… the whole thing is for me?!?!”  Amazing!  So much fish… and for only $3.50.  Borderline ridiculous.  It came topped with tartar sauce and hot sauce, and when properly assembled looked like this:

The world is divided into two different kinds of people.  One group looks at that photo, and thinks “gross!”.  The other group is too busy drooling to say anything.  Which group do you suppose that I am in?

I’m not going to lie to you.  The thing stunk up my office… and not necessarily in a good way.  Used to my lunchtime antics, most people were intrigued by the “delicious” smell emanating from my desk, but I’m sure there were others who were less excited to have their work space stink like a New England seafood shack.  There is no mistaking the smell of fish… and when you buy a fish sandwich for $3.50, you can rest assured it is going to smell (and taste of fish).

And that’s what it comes down to.  If you are one of those people who hates “fishy” fish, this is not the cart for you.  But if you love fried fish, and tartar sauce, and a great bargain- the whiting sandwich at Kim’s Aunt Kitchen will be your new goto lunch.  Feeling like a fancy pants?  Order the flounder for $4.50 and eat like a king.

They still have the bulgogi I tried on the first visit, and it has actually been officially added to the printed menu- along with gyoza.  The quality of the bulgogi meat is definitely better than the 49th St. Cart but it doesn’t have as strong a bulgogi flavor.  For $6 it comes with rice or lo mein.  For $8, it comes with gyoza as well.  Loving the variety, I got the gyoza, and went with Lo Mein just to try it.  The gyoza were not the greatest I’ve ever had (they’re probably just the same frozen ones you can buy in your grocery store) but they have a nice garlic and scallion flavor, and I enjoyed the variety. (I even got a piece of chicken, which I wrote about last week.)

I liked the Lo Mein as well, although its strong soy sauce/Chinese flavors totally overpowered the bulgogi, making the whole platter just taste like beef lo mein.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are looking for Korean food, you might want to stick with the white rice.  I seem to remember that version tasting better.

All in all, I have to give it to NY Mag for this one.  I will eat bulgogi from anywhere… but for fried fish, sometimes you need that recommendation from a third party.  Now if only I could meet Kim’s Aunt… I’ll bet she’s a real special lady.

THE + (What someone who likes this place would say)

  • Super cheap
  • A ton of food.  For $3.50, you get twice as much fish as you would expect in the whiting sandwich.
  • I love fish!  The fishier the better!  Fry it and serve it up!
  • I love sandwich bread
  • Great variety.  With your bulgogi you can get rice or lo mein- and gyoza!  From a cart!
  • The bulgogi is made fresh when you order it.  (i.e. it starts off as raw beef, and is cooked from scratch)

THE – (What someone who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I hate smelly/fishy/cheap fish.  Even when it’s fried.
  • Everything is super greasy
  • The bulgogi tastes more Chinese than Korean
  • The gyoza are not worth the money
  • I would never eat fish from a cart

Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart, 46th btw. 5+6th.

26 Comments

  • i must admit i am intrigued by this whole “fish-from-a-cart” thing. however, my stomach quakes violently at the mere idea… any feedback in that department, zach? is this a safe one, or does it fall in the “clear-your-afternoon-calendar” midtown lunch genre?

  • MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
    wait wait– could I possibly get one a those fish sammiches *and* some gyoza??????

  • I look at that and think maybe. If it was Saturday or Sunday or any day I did not have to work, there would be no question but two sandwich rolls like that would put me into a deep lunch coma that would ultimately result in my firing. So maybe if my boss is out town, then sure why not. Maybe I will get two orders and sleep at the office.

    http://www.ilsvont.com

  • Holy Baby Jesus. That fish sandwich is, um, frightening.

  • My favorite menu item at Burger King (and secret shame) has always been the fish sandwich. If I’ll get it at a fast food restaurant, why not a cart? Looks good to me…

  • the chicken pita is also quite a deal at 3.00

  • haha this is one of the funniest posts on here. I don’t care where it comes from, Per Se or Kim’s Aunt, I don’t like fried fish. I bet your officemates were real happy.

  • I think the fish platter at Kwik Meal is far superior..spicy, not fishy, and not really greasy at all. The type of fish they use varies depending on what they pick up that morning and it also comes with some sauteed vegetables. Only drawback is that it is $7.50..Personally I’d rather shell that out that than spend the rest of the day suffering from some pungent cart fried fish.

  • Fresh fish does not smell “like fish.” Only fish that is not fresh has that fishy odor. Eating “fishy” fish from a cart means Zach is truly fearless…a god among men.

  • she does look like liv tyler.

  • OMG my love for Rudy revived anew…

  • Wow dude that’s an awesome sammich.

  • I just keep staring at the sandwich… it’s hypnotic. Wow.

  • That chick from yesterday had a lame profile, dude.

  • Has anyone tried the tofu curry at this cart? I am always tempted when I got the falafel cart next door.

  • she looks like liv tyler the same way i look like brad pitt — i.e., from really far away with a quick glance and the glare of the sun making it impossible to make out any details — not so much

  • Stan, not so much brad pitt more BBQ pit

    and she DOES.

  • I tried the fried fish sandwhich two Mondays ago, based on the rave reviews from NY mag. I must say it is HUGE. MASSIVE. It is like two sandwiches in one. What a bargain. It tasted pretty good.
    I do not like fried foods at all, so I can not rave about it. But if you do like fried foods, this is the midtown lunch bargain of the year. I got mine wrapped in pita..next time I will ask if he can throw white sauce or tahini or something instead of tartar, because I also hate tartar. Now that would be yummy.

    One thing, I got really really sick that night. I won’t go into details, but it was the worst ever. However, I am thinking that is because of the issue with the lightning bolt hitting United Water in NJ and not the fish sandwhich. Of course my town didn’t inform us not to drink the water, so…. anyways I can not be sure. I am always willing to blame NJ though. And all my neighbors got sick too, and they certainly didn’t eat at this cart that day. You decide.

  • That fish sandwich looks AWSOME! I eat fish from carts all the time. No problem. Most often it’s the fish platter from 100% Hallal on the corner of Park and 54th. It’s like a grease express train scrubbing out my colon!

    And “chowsue”, it was the ligntning strike. I had the same problem too last week or when ever that was. I was NOT a happy camper.

  • Tried the cart today. Fish sandwich on a hero was excellent–not huge, but tasty and pretty big. The bulgogi was a slight disappointment–meat was OK, a bit dry and not too flavorful but a good portion size. The lo mein went unfinished–it was oily and tasted slightly burnt. And I *love* lo mein and (almost) always finish it!

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