New York Kimchi Packs Big Options in an Even Bigger Space

Back in October, Midtown Lunch reported the future opening of New York Kimchi. We didn’t have much in the way of details, but we did know they would be selling kimchi, and that the space was over 7,000 sq. feet. This, to me, seemed like a huge store simply for selling kimchi, but what the hell do I know? A fellow Midtown Luncher sent us an email letting us know New York Kimchi had opened, so I made my way over to, what I could only imagine would be, kimchi paradise.

New York Kimchi is located at 16 West 48th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue. It’s far closer to 5th Ave, and this was an unusually long walk for me to make when it was just a few degrees above freezing outside. Nevertheless, we had reported that this New York Kimchi location was operated by Kum Gang San, who claim to operate the “No. 1 Korean Restaurant in New York City”. That’s a lofty claim to make, and I am in no way the individual capable of declaring that to be true or not, but I like kimchi, so I made the trek.

Walking into New York Kimchi, there is a counter directly in the front. I approached this counter, and something about the look on the employees face immediately clued me into the fact that I was in the wrong place. I looked around, and there was a bar with fresh fruit – yep, definitely in the wrong place. Leading down a long hallway, I found where I needed to be.

The main food area, pictured above, contains three different “sections” broken up into A, B and C. Each station has different lunch items, and each station has a different place to order from. It’s a great idea, in theory, but I found it to be rather unorganized while I was there. I began looking up at the menus above, planning my attack. Please enjoy my lousy attempt at capturing each menu in a picture below (the original files are much larger, which can be viewed by clicking on the image).

There is a bibimbap menu to the right of the kim bap menu.

As I made the walk to New York Kimchi, I envisioned myself ordering a nice rice bowl, with kimchi, fresh vegetables, grilled chicken and, of course, brown rice. I figured this healthy, nutritious meal, plus my longer than average walk would yield an unusually healthy afternoon for this Midtown Luncher. However, all of this came to a screeching halt when I looked up at the last menu:

That’s right, a Korean Style Cheesesteak, I didn’t stand a chance. If someone wants to put marinated prime rib-eye beef (bulgogi), with onions, mushrooms, and peppers onto a flattop grill, then cover it in provolone cheese, and put it between two nicely toasted pieces of bread, who am I to stop them? I figured the only appropriate thing to do in this situation was order the sandwich immediately, and eat it as quickly as possible.

There are a few tables upstairs, but I was more interested in the additional seating available downstairs. I was delighted to find the space almost completely empty, so I sat down and went to work. The sandwich didn’t feel too heavy in the box, but it turned out to be larger than I imagined.

The bread was a little too large for the contents of the sandwich, I was getting bites with just bread and no meat. However, the bread had clearly been placed on the flattop, and the inside had a perfect golden brown crust.

The bulgogi was super moist, flavorful, and scorching hot (temperature hot). The cheese had melted completely, and everything was dripping delicious beef juice. Fortunately, the bread was up to the task, and did a commendable job holding everything together. I had no problem finishing the sandwich without it completely falling apart, although my hands were a total mess.

They definitely didn’t hold back on the veggies, but I could obviously use some more beef, but hey, when is that not the case? I absolutely devoured this Korean Cheesesteak, and at $9.95, it wasn’t the worst deal ever. Sure, it comes out a little over the ML limit, but just take a look at how moist that meat is.

New York Kimchi has way more to offer than what I have shared above, and I can safely say I would order every single item on their menu. The majority of their offerings will bring you +$10, but they have plenty to order that won’t. Take that, as well as a restaurant that is brand new, clean, and nicely appointed, with ample seating space, and you’ve got a recipe for success. If New York Kimchi were a little closer, I would definitely be a repeat customer. This is another welcome addition to the Midtown Lunch menu.

New York Kimchi, 16 W 48th Street (between 5th and 6th)


  • How much is the Bibimbap? As good as everything looks and sounds, I do wish it was like, $1 cheaper for everything.

  • Bibimbap is $10.99.

    It’s a really appealing place, big, clean, about five food stations plus the juice/fruit bar up front. A mandoo station. Bottled kimchi to go.

    The decor includes a museum-quality display with explanations on how kimchi is made and oversize, meticulous plastic replicas of a dozen or more kimchi varieties – a la sushi window displays. It’s almost surreal.

    But I have to think the prices are too high to support their crowd expectations. Noodle soups are like $11.99, $12.99. That cheese steak with fries (just $1) is $10.99. Unless midtown desk jockeys just got raises (I didn’t) or the area has a large Korean clientele in the area that I’m unaware of, this place is going to have problems.

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    yeah I have to agree with everyone on the pricing. Just had a beef rice bowl and a water and the charge was $14 and change. It’s good, but it’s just too much for such a simple lunch. I’d go there weekly if I could get out for the ML $10.00

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    I like to use Korean food as my excuse for not, until recently, getting in touch with my bucolic side.

    The RoK also happens to be one of two places where the unofficial matron of a restaurant, upon seeing me enter, expected the worst and started to feed me.

  • Just tried this place for the first time and it is legit. Much better than the Korean food from deli’s. You can see people making food from their open kitchen. This will definitely be my go to place for Korean going forward. They also have free samples going on right now for dumplings and other things.

    Thank you for covering this and bringing it to my attention.

  • Just tried this spot today. I’m on 46th at 6th and usually to get my Korean fix I hit up Ambrosia Deli on 45th btwn 6th and 5th for their Korean kitchen in the back. Not amazing but it gets you there better than anywhere nearby but now with NYKimChi here they have my biz from here out.
    I got the Bibimbap. They make in front of you and all the ingredients looked and tasted fresh and just plain tasty. Also the portion was very filling, came with a side of miso soup too. Total was indeed a stiff 10.95 plus tax so I got out of there at $11.92 but even at Ambrosia the price sits in the $10 plus tax range, so I disagree with everyone on the pricing. I think it’s priced competitively with the Korean delis in the area. Additionally when we walked in, the place was teeming with business. Also I don’t go in for Korean everyday, often its to treat myself and NYKimChi was definitely a treat. Definitely going for another treat day sooner than later. :)

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