First Look at the Now Open Food Gallery 32 (aka The Korean FoodParc?)
At long last, Food Gallery 32, the Koreatown food court is open for business. As with most openings of this scale, there’s a lot still being worked out and finishing touches being made, but all things considered, the slow, snow-laden week is probably a good time for them to get started.
I stopped in on Tuesday to finally get a good look at the place, check it out after the jump.
The main attraction is clearly the seven food stalls or ‘corners’ on the main floor. These include Boon Sik House, Pastelo, Hanok and Jin Jja Roo specializing in various Korean and Korean fusion fare, O-de-ppang serving Japanese Deppan-yaki, Big Bowl serving noodles and of course, the NYC Cravings’ brick and mortar space, Bian Dang.
All seven opened this week, with the Red Mango still in progress and more spaces to be opened in coming weeks on the top floor.
As soon as you enter the ‘gallery’ there is a counter for ordering food. Menus for each of the vendors rotate on screens behind them just a little too fast and most people will end up walking to the back to check out what each place is all about first.
The thing is, you’ll still have to go back to the main counter to order. Logistically, I suspect this ordering system will cause some trouble once they start to draw a crowd. Customers will enter right into the ordering lines, have to cut through or around them to get to the actual vending stations to see what they want and then head back to the doorway to stand in line to order. These guys could probably have taken a page from FoodParc and made a more streamlined ordering process a priority. Not being able to order directly is a little counter-intuitive and will probably cause some confusion.
Independent of the long-term issues, word from some of the vendors is that the staff working the counters are still a little green and have been fumbling some of the orders sent to them.
Once you’ve ordered, you’ll get a buzzer from each of the places you ordered from which will vibrate when you’re food is ready. At that point, you’ll hang out in the big open space in the middle of the main floor waiting for your order. I’m hoping that at some point they put in some sort of standing bench where customers can put down the items they’ve already received. Yesterday, I ordered from two vendors (more on the food next week) and had about five minutes waiting with my tray before my other order was done. Standing around there seemed sort of goofy.
Once you’ve got your food, you can eat in the mezzanine section up the stairs or, eventually on the top floor, once it’s open.
Clearly, two days in is no time to judge any restaurant, much less a collection of restaurants that all have to work together. We’ll give it time and hope that the slow week allows them some breathing room to get things fixed up before the real lunch rush hits.
Food Gallery 32, 11 W. 32nd Street (btw. 5th and B’way).