First Look: Bulgogi Hot Dogs & Short Rib Tacos From New Korean BBQ Cart
As promised, the new Korean cart on 50th btw. 6+7th began serving bulgogi topped hot dogs and Korean short rib tacos this week. I stopped by yesterday, not only to check out the two new items but also to ask if they had been getting the same “treatment” that chased the Happy Well Being House Cart from the same spot a few weeks ago. The Korean guy who runs the cart said that they ran into a bit of trouble earlier but that “everything is ok now.” I don’t know whether to feel happy for them, or sorry for the Happy Well Being House Cart for not sticking it out in the spot longer.
So for now, it looks like these guys are going to be around. The question is, how is their new bulgogi dog and short rib tacos!?! (The answer, plus photos of the craziness, is after the jump.)
Every since the Kogi BBQ truck hit the streets of Los Angeles at the end of last year, Korean tacos have been all the rage. It’s not a tough idea to grasp, and it’s not hard to understand how the city of L.A. gave birth to the concept (big Korean population + lots of Mexican taco trucks = Korean tacos!) Since then, a few of us have been begging for Kogi to come to NYC- and even more recently at least one Kogi imitator has surfaced in the big apple. But this new cart is the first to bring them to Midtown.
I don’t think I was ever deluded into thinking these tacos would come close to equaling Kogi (and I was right), but they weren’t all that bad. $6 for two, the “short ribs” (aka boneless galbi) get stirred up with chopped veggies and kochujang, the slightly sweet and spicy red sauce that usually gets poured on top of bi bim bap. The mixture then gets put into two real deal Mexican corn tortillas that have been heated up on the flat top. It’s not fine dining, but ends up tasting exactly how you would expect. The red sauce gives it a good bit of heat, but the flavor of the meat is mostly masked by the “salsa”. Even so it was a tasty treat, and something different if you’re looking for a fun Korean taco lunch to tie you over until Kogi makes its debut in New York City at the end of the summer.
The Bulgogi Dog is another weird fusion food that has been popping up lately, although this one I think New York can take credit for (naturally.) The first place I ever saw them at was New York Hot Dog & Coffee in the West Village, and once again the concept is a no brainer. If the sound of chopped up Korean BBQ beef on top of a hot dog sounds good to you, you’ll like a bulgogi dog. If it doesn’t, you probably won’t. The Korean BBQ cart’s version gets topped with what looks like mustard and ketchup, but is actually mustard and (once again) kochujang. The red sauce makes it pretty damn spicy, and like the taco the subtle flavor of the bulgogi is lost between the hot dog and sauces. But overall it tasted exactly like you would expect. (So, if you’re me, that’s to say “good”.)
Like I said last week, I don’t know if their bulgogi and kalbi is good enough alone to compete in Midtown (especially with the Bulgogi Cart just one block away serving practically the same thing.) But the bulgogi dog and Korean tacos should be enough to distinguish them from the pack… at least until the Kogi truck gets here!
THE + (What somebody who does like this place would say.)
- I like bulgogi. I like hot dogs. Genius!!!
- I like galbi. I like tacos. Genius!!!
- They use the right kind of tortillas (corn)
- Really spicy from the delicious kochujang sauce
- Hot dog was nice and fat- and cooked on the flat top. Not your average dirty water dog.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place is going to say.)
- Not the best bulgogi or kalbi you’re ever going to have
- The flavor of the meat is kind of lost under the strong flavors of the sauce (on the hot dog) and the salsa (in the tacos)
- The taco is just a cheap Kogi imitation, and not nearly as tasty
- Too spicy for me!
- $5 for the hot is fine, and $6 for tacos is ok- but they already raised the prices of their platters from $6 to $7!
Korean BBQ Cart, 50th btw. 6+7th