Kofoo Is Decent And Inexpensive Out-Of-Bounds Korean
Raise your fists and bow your heads, those of us who work just near or completely in those out-of-bounds zones, that we may all struggle together against the oppressive forces of market dynamics causing all the good trucks to be on or near the 50s and Park. Yes, that’s where the disposable income professionals are, the big-money finance types. Though they command the markets both professionally and in terms of food dollars, we do not suffer gladly these slings and arrows. Nay, we look elsewhere. We recognize our own. With this in mind, if you’re like me and working in the 30s, and don’t mind a moderate walk (or voting with your Seamless dollars), and your knowledge of K-Town is confined to Food Gallery 32 and Woorijip, Kofoo is the option that was positively made for you.
Kofoo sits at 334 8th Ave, between 27th and 26th, just a stone’s throw from the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, if you want to grab a nosh before PBR-fueled longform improv. It’s very easy to miss, but it’s next to a small generic deli that also does bubble tea if you want the full East Asian experience in bev as well as food.
Inside there’s pre-made kimbobs, noodle dishes, and other stuff, but I wasn’t sure if they were for display only or just grab-n-gos. There were a few impressively red-looking noodle soups in the back, in takeout containers.
Sadly, Kofoo’s noodle soups don’t follow the takeout/delivery best practices, as they apply to noodle soup — they don’t do a container of soup and toppings and a separate container of noodles. Purists beware — I don’t mind this, as long as it’s a fast turnover time from packaging to arrival/consumption, but a delay may mean soggy, broth-logged noodles. Correction: as of 10/5/12, the noodles and soup are rightfully in separate delivery containers. It’s also pretty freakin’ tasty.
A co-worker ordered the wild mushroom dup bob ($8), an impressive display even for takeout. I was happy to see that the rice was in the smaller container and the rest of the stuff was large — they’re not trying to inflate the dishes here to make cash. It’s a refreshingly honest way to go about things. That’s not the only refreshing part, though. The mushrooms (portobello, crimini, shiitake, maybe maitake, and definitely enoki) were simmered together with the vegetables. Together, they melded nicely, and the dish was still piping hot, even after walking from 27th to 34th. The veggies still had some crunch left to them. The rice was basic, but prepared properly — they had a couple of cookers going, so hopefully that allows them better rice control than one giant cooker.
I was sorely mistaken that I’d not have enough food. The three kimchi pancakes were thin but densely packed. It tasted almost like a spicy, kimchi-flavored omelet — the pancakes were quite nicely eggy and flavorful. These, and an order of dumplings, could easily make a meal without leaving you hungry. They’re about 3 inches across, not too thick, but explosively flavorful.
The kimbob, which is about as wide across as the small base of an aluminum soda can, contains rice that had just a tad bit of vinegar tang, a 1mm-thin egg strip around big chunks and slices of bulgogi beef, cabbage kimchi, pickled daikon radish, fresh cucumber, and pickled carrot. There’s 12 slices. It costs $7. It’s a meal unto itself if you aren’t a huge eater, and there is zero flavor skimped. The beef comes through with a nice salty/sweet balance, the kimchi isn’t too juicy and meshes well, and the veggies come across with their own texture. Be forewarned, though, you will be tempted to take individual bites. Do so over a plate, because the moment the kimbob’s onboard individual-biting sensor registers your action, it triggers the tiny amount of C4 that’s in the ingredients, causing the seaweed wrapping to break apart and causing the ingredients to fly around everywhere. You don’t want to get kimchi on your work clothes — trust me, it’s not fun to pre-treat that stain out. It’s not like you have to bite your way through each piece anyway — it’s 12 slices, about as much as 2.5-3 full sushi rolls worth of stuff. Look, let’s be honest, if you’re ordering sushi rolls for delivery or pickup, you’re already on Trevor Corson’s hate list — you might as well save your money, and get your spicy tuna kimbob from Kofoo.
Both dishes came with a little container of kimchi. I’d have liked to have a couple more banchan dishes, but to be honest, it’s not exactly sit-down Korean here, so I can live with it. This is kimchi made for Korean tastes, without any dumbing-down of spiciness, garlic, and anchovy. Great for those who love the smell of kimchi. Awful for those who don’t. I ate mine quickly to spare my nearby co-workers.
Overall, I’m quite impressed by Kofoo, especially in terms of value. I was stuffed for less than $10 and the dup bob was quite filling too. Best of all, it was really, really decent. Yes, there’s tons of options in K-town, but if you’re closer to Chelsea than Park Ave, this could be less of a walk and/or better value, especially if you have to blow subway fare to get to your Korean of choice. It’s a shame that its distance excludes it from normal ML classification … as much for potential Lunch’ers as it is for Kofoo.
The + (What somebody who likes this would say)
- Gotta love reasonably priced Korean food.
- Kofoo serves up decent value in quantity/quality.
- No-holds-barred kimchi and proper Korean chow make me happy.
- Plenty of options on the menu.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Unfortunately, it’s out of range from anything nearby (unless you’re an FIT student).
- Gross atrocities against noodle soup are being committed.
- Self-destructing kimbob could be problematic.
- The kimchi can be pretty stinky, if you’re not used to it.
Kofoo, 334 8th Ave (btw. 26+27th)