First Look: Bulgogi Hot Dogs & Short Rib Tacos From New Korean BBQ Cart

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DSC02778As 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.

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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.

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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”.)

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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

Related:
New Korean BBQ Truck to Serve Bulgogi Dogs & Korean Tacos

17 Comments

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    hot dog looks pretty filling, is it a decent lunch on its own? tacos look less satisfying

  • Interesting option for Midtown.
    But $5 for a bulgogi hot dog off a cart that is only okay? Man, I might as well hit up NYHD&C in the W. Village after work or take the subway during lunch.

    Patience is a virtue…come on Kogi! ;P

  • I had a bulgogi hot dog at this place down in the Village the other day. I didn’t think the texture and flavor of the hot dog worked well at all with the bulgogi.

  • Even though I’m Korean, I have no desire to eat a bulgogi taco. Am I weird? If I’m craving taco, I want goat or tongue or spiced pork. If I want Korean food, well, I never liked bulgogi much anyway. Kalbi is better, but still, not in mah tacos!

  • I dunno … these two items look infinitely better than those kim chi quesadillas

    And ininfite plus one when you factor in the hour-long wait for the latter

  • well, i’ve been avoiding that cart, but now that you’ve given it a somewhat ok review, I will have to go visit it one more time for their tacos

  • Just had the $6 two-taco special. They layer two corn tortillas for each shell, but the filling is ‘way small. IMO, not enough for a Lunch’er.

  • judging from the pictures alone the tacos do not look very tasty to me. im more willing to try the hot dog but what’s up with the scraps of lettuce on the side?

  • Just got back the tacos were sold out after my 15 min wait so I ended up with the chicken teriyaki and bulgogi? with rice the bulgoig was good but the chicken was extremely dry.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Went for the hotdog/bulgogi and the bulgogi platter (sold out on tacos dammit).

    Hot dot and sauce drowned out the flavor of bulgogi, hot dog was too big (mine wasn’t split either). I would go with a skinnier, fatter hot dog, like a regular nathans. Platter beef was a tad drier than expected, but the flavor was there, veggies were crisp.

    Hot Korean hot sauce had just the right amount of heat. Salad came with bottled caesar dressing on it.

    All in all the food was “as expected”, wouldn’t call it a favorite by any means, but a once-a-month kinda place for something different.

    On a business note, they are really slow, still need to get in the groove of this cart business, and they use the same kitchen tongs for everything (handling frozen chicken and cooked pieces… big no no, but i still ate it anyway). The rice spatula accidentally hit the frozen chicken in the pan a few times as well.

  • Wow, samonella is just another few extra trips to the bathroom (hopefully only bathroom).

  • What does bulgogi + mustard taste like?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Check out this funny KOGI TRUCK commercial

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MarioKyp1

  • Zach, that cross section photo of the hot dog is OBSCENE (in that “I want to eat it right NOW” way). Mmmm. I keep staring at it, then remember it’s gochujang and not ketchup, and cringe because I think my face would burn off from that. lol. Mmmm. Damn it!

  • Just tried the Korean tacos. They are good and extremely spicy. A bit too many oninons. There are two primary problems with this cart. First, the tacos are way too expensive. Two tacos cost $6, but i feel like i would need 2-3 more just to feel satisfied (not even full). Second, the guys who run the cart are pretty slow. You can tell by watching them that they don’t have a good system in place to assemble the meals.

    I’m going out later for a hot dog, which costs $5. All in, i will have shelled out $11 for two tacos and one hot dog. They need to lower their prices or increase quantity…

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I tried the bulgogi here (not in bun or taco) and it was ok. Probably better than the original Bulgogi Cart on 49th and $1 cheaper. However, the kalbi at the Bulgogi Cart is very good (though in fairness have not tried the kalbi at the new Korean cart). Glad to have two options right in front of my office! Thanks for the service ML!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I’m Korean and the bulgogi was blah.
    I was very disappointed. I think they make better bulgogi at Cafe Duke.

    Mixing Korean food with American food is just weird!

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