Korea Spoon Seems Out of Place on 32nd

Chris reported a while back that Korea Spoon would be the latest sister restaurant to nearby Korean spots all specializing in different things: Miss Korea (Korean BBQ), Izakaya Moku (Korean bar food), and Food Gallery 32 (Korean mall food?). Well, the new restaurant opened its doors last week on 32nd Street and as the name suggests, the speciality here is “things you eat with a spoon.”

I felt a little uncomfortable walking into the tranquil, modern dining room without an expense account. I checked the menu before sitting down to make sure there was something I could order within the ML price point.

Past the $30 entrees, I found a small list of lunch specials starting at $9.99. Technically, this would be a splurge (with tax and tip), but since they already served me complimentary tea in a pint glass (I was hoping it was a free beer), I felt compelled to stay. I remember Chris saying that their signature dish would be seolleongtang, so I skipped the spicy beef stews and bibimbap for this dish I had never tried before (and was scared to try to pronounce).

The varied banchan were impeccably fresh and full of flavor and crunch. My only concern was eating them with silver chopsticks. Seriously, what was I doing at a place like this?

The Seolleongtang came out pretty quickly. I was presented with a big bowl of milky soup, along with scallions and a dish of salt.  From my previous experience with the similarly milky (but cold) Kong Gook Soo, I knew I had to load this thing with salt myself and maybe even dip in some kimchi to pull out more flavor.

As I dipped my spoon through the soup, I discovered big slices of brisket, tongue, and tripe. Also in the soup was this jelly like substance that I soon realized was bone marrow. I had never had marrow outside of the bone before, but it added an unusual texture and decadence to the dish. However, I found the brisket and tongue surprisingly a little tough and dry.

The soup itself had a very unique and hearty richness to it, while still maintaining a creamy lightness. With enough salt, I could really detect the funky umami flavors which is perfect for the gray rainy days we’ve had recently. And with the springy noodles in the soup and a side of rice, this is a very filling lunch. I just wish the restaurant weren’t so fancy schmancy. It all seems a little out of place in K-town, where casual dining and karaoke joints reign supreme.

Korea Spoon, 39 W. 32nd St. (btw. B’way+5th), 212-560-9696


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