Flatiron Lunch: Forget the Shellfish, Get the Korean Tacos at Sagaponack

Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays at 10am? Answer… how about a new column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Every week we’ll post about a lunch in Murray Hill south, Gramercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or as we’ll call it from now on: Flatiron Lunch.

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I must have passed Sagaponack dozens of times while bouncing around the camera shops and photo labs of the Flatiron District, but I never really considered it for lunch. It certainly doesn’t immediately seem like a Midtown Lunch. I mean, look at it… there’s a chandelier. It’s fancy. I’m a longtime fan of Pearl Oyster Bar for a downtown seafood splurge and BLT Fish is just a couple blocks away- in other words, I have fancy seafood covered.

I grabbed a menu anyway, just to see what they’ve got and was pleasantly surprised. Turns out that there are more ML priced options than you’d expect. Even better, those options go beyond the seafood rolls, offering an interesting selection of tacos, including a Korean Barbecue taco. Um, what??

Yes, really. Read about it after the jump.

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I have no idea how tacos – especially Korean tacos – fit into a Hamptons-style seafood house, but I don’t care. The menu is a little schizo, sure, but honestly, it’s where they go off theme that Sagaponack does really well.

A year ago, when everyone was crapping themselves over Kogi, my only thought was “these are going to be in Koreatown in the next six months.” I was certain. I was excited (especially after I finally tried them out in LA) and I was totally wrong, apparently. Or at least I was off by 10 blocks.

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Slices of marinaded, grilled kalbi are topped with a kimchi that’s more tangy than spicy and a small dose of Korean chili paste that adds a little kick. It won’t light you up, but it’s still good. My only complaint is that I’m a three taco kind of guy. The tacos do come with a salad and chips with guac and salsa, but I’d trade all that for a third taco.

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On my second visit, I went with a friend who was craving a lobster roll, so I took the opportunity to check out the more ‘thematically appropriate’ items on the menu. At $18 my friend’s Lobster roll broke the ML limits but is still cheaper than many of the other seafood shacks around town. The problem is that it lacks both mayo and the good acidic tang that it needs to replace it. A pile of lobster on a buttered roll isn’t ever going to be bad, but we’d both had better.

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I went with the $10 spicy crab roll, which had the crab covered, but lost the ‘spicy’ somewhere along the way. The crab meat was chopped fine, giving it the texture of tuna salad sandwich more than a lobster roll with crab, which is what I was hoping for.

Both rolls came with plenty of meat, but were still stuffed with shredded lettuce beneath the meat as filler, which I thought pretty unnecessary. On the plus side, the rolls also came with tasty pesto-laden fries which I had to have taken away from me before I scarfed them all down.

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Not to end on a down note, my third visit brought fish tacos, a favorite of mine even though I don’t really eat a lot of fish. In yet another example of fried food being worth the years they take off your life, the battered nuggets of fish swaddled in the doubled tortillas and stacked with cheese were filling enough that I didn’t mind not having a third taco. Sadly there were no limes to squeeze on them. Allegedly, lime was already there, but it didn’t stand out quite enough. Next time, I’ll ask for some extras so I can put it on myself.

There’s a lot to pick at, but overall, there are plenty of good meals to be had at Sagaponack. I’ll certainly be back. The menu also offers Korean Barbecue sandwiches, which I skipped only due to the lack of kimchi. One of these days I will have to see what that’s like as well. I’d also try out some of the other more common tacos available to see what they are like. There’s much to have and given the surroundings, the prices are pretty reasonable.

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Korean Barbecue on a taco? Sign me up!
  • Two tacos does not a lunch make.
  • I want to eat someplace pretty.

The -

  • Just about everything could use a little ‘more’ of something. Flavor, seasoning spice.
  • Faaaancy!
  • Korean food at a Hamptons style seafood restaurant? There’s a much wider and better selection of kimchi 10 blocks away.

Sagaponack, 4 W. 22nd St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-229-2226

2 Comments

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    The meat here is ok but what makes this a decent burrito is the mixing and the availability to add your own toppings. I like to have the cheese melted into the wrap so that is a plus. Most burrito places just slap the ingredients and get rolled up. Here they mix it up like a salad which gives it a more rounded taste. For $6 plus chips on the side, this is a good deal.

  • i think the 2nd + is actually a -

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