No Need to Wait at Sprawling Relocated Kunjip

Ktown mainstay Kunjip reopened on the south side of 32nd street a few months ago, slightly closer to 6th Avenue than before. I will admit to dining here regularly at 3 or 4am after drunken nights out. The worst part was always waiting for a table. Why so many people at that hour? We all knew it’s one of the better restaurants opened at that hour. But look at this new space of two sprawling floors!

The first floor looks normal enough, but upstairs? You’ll find some pretty sweet window seats, and even a large (potentially) private back room. Each table is outfitted with moveable chimney/exhaust fans. The copper hardware along with the brick wall and random antique curios give almost a steampunk feel to this floor.

Okay, so it’s been some YEARS since I’ve done the 4am drunken grubbing at Kunjip, but I remember the bill feeling a bit pricy (after all that alcohol spending). I’m sticking to the lunch crowd these days, and thank god they still have a lunch menu of mostly under $10, full of stews perfect for the arctic chill. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that one of our coworkers can’t handle spice, until they pointed out that the lunch menu is almost ENTIRELY spicy. Oops. Makes more sense to mark the NON-spicy options at this point, or not to drag along my capsaicin-challenged coworker.

Some people have complained about the downgrade in banchan since Kunjip’s move, but that goes to show just how spoiled we are. Sure, I’ve seen more interesting selection, but we had more than enough banchan to try out before our main dishes arrived. And remember, refills are unlimited!

I’m actually wary of filling up on banchan here since their portions are so big. That characteristic definitely has stayed the same with their move. I’m a seafood soondubu (tofu stew) fiend, and there were plenty of seafood goodies hiding in the stew to make me feel like I got my money’s worth. At least until I saw my coworkers’ orders…

My coworkers all got the Dook Bae Ki Bulkogi (thin sliced tender beef in stone pot), a good $5 above ML budget, but they got a soondubu for free! And my separately ordered soondubu was practically the same size, hmph. I’d suggest stealing/splitting one of these with a soondubu-lover, so you both stay under budget.

A nice touch is the complimentary chilled sweet cinnamon tea at the end of the meal. At first I wondered if the floating entity was an asian mushroom, aloe, or someone’s spit. (It kinda looked like birds nest soup.) Luckily, it turned out just to be melting ice. ‘A’ rating to Kunjip for no spit in their free tea!

Keep this spot for a leisurely lunch break since service can be slow, but I’ve come to expect that from their old location. Slightly more off putting was their $20 credit card minimum at lunch! Remember, your cash.

The biggest change would be their DIY bbq, but it’s nowhere near ML prices. Until then, stick to their lunch menu or reroute to Gyukaku for affordable Asian ‘cue lunch specials.

The +
+ Lots of banchan (unlimited refills)
+ Large portions
+ Cinnamon dessert tea

The -
- $20 card minimum per card
- Slow service
- Most lunch menu items are spicy and stews, few other dishes available on lunch menu

Kunjip, 32 W 32nd St (btw B’way+5th). 212-216-9487


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