Sifton Dubs Madangsui Best BBQ in K-Town

I don’t know what you guys think, but I’m pretty psyched to finally have a NYT reviewer that eats like us. In 5 years as the restaurant critic of the New York Times Frank Bruni and Midtown Lunch crossed paths just once (his 2 star review of Szechuan Gourmet.) But in less than three months Sam Sifton (who is quickly becoming my favorite food reviewer of all time) has doubled that output- first with his one star review of Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote, and today with his one star review of Madangsui- a great Korean BBQ place on 35th btw. 5+6th. Getting real Korean BBQ (where your meat gets grilled on the table right in front of you) is too expensive for Midtown Lunch’ing purposes, but if you’ve always wondered where the best place to get it in our neck of the woods is Sifton says Madangsui.

Photo courtesy of meltingnoise


  • “There are . . . salty tangles of wakame dressed with sweet vinegar, soft on the tongue, a kiss in a rock club, right after the show.”

    Dude…you’re trying too hard. Did you really kiss someone that tasted like soggy salted seaweed and vinegar? Was this a kiss on the lips or…?

  • Wake me up when Mongolian bbq comes to midtown…or just tell me where it already exists.

  • hmm.. i remember when VV reviewed it ( and then I went… maybe it’s my uneducated palate, but I think all korean BBQ taste good. It’s hard to isolate what makes one place better than another. I’d like to see someone break down how this place rivals Kum Gang San and BCD Tofu House… b/c I like ‘em all. What the hell is the difference?

  • totally, completely, 100% agree that madangsui is the #1 K-bbq spot in manhattan.

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    It depends on the kind of meat you’re getting. For Seng Kalbi (no marinade) I agree that Madangsui is the best. The quality of the meat is superior (Don’s Bogam comes a very close second for the Kalbi w/ no marinad). I dont’ really like the soy marinade too much. It’s too sweat for me, but if I had to pick, I would most likely say it’s a toss up between Shilla and Madangsui. For pork belly, I would say Choong Moo Roh is best with Don’t a close second. The thickness of the cut and the taste is the best with Choong Moo Roh. Good ratio of fat to meat. I don’t generally go for the other meats on the menu, so I can’t really say.

    The thing about Kum Gang San for instance is the marinade for the kalbi is too sweet. It takes away from the taste of the meat and generally when restaurants do that, it’s because the meat is not really a good quality. BCD is similar. Again, they’re not bad… they’re just the middle of the road… BCD is great for Tofu obviously, but not for meats IMO.

  • Wonjo is my favorite….but I haven’t been to this place.

  • Dammit, Zach! That picture just made my mouth water completely. And my lunch is going to be so unsatisfying now.

  • ceh: Comment of the day! Should be submitted to the NYT site, for sure. Sammy is trying way too hard to be cute/stylish/evocative with his reviews, and it comes up epic lame.

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