Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (ensuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.) The appearance of the Happy Well Being House Cart spawned a lot of “what’s with Korean carts and fried fish?” questions this week. Of course there is also Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart that is popular for their fried fish sandwiches, but also serves bulgogi. Well, it seems as if Downtown has got a Korean/Fried Fish cart of their own.

Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

When Ruth Reichl twittered about the Korean BBQ cart on the corner of Charlton and Varick last week, Zach emailed me immediately with a call to action. You all know how I feel about street carts- but clearly I had to do it. For Zach. For my Midtown Lunch cred. But most of all… for Ruth!

Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

The first thing I saw when I walked up to the truck was the “fried fish box w/ rice and salad” and ordered it immediately. I then stood to the side waiting, daydreaming of a crispy golden fried piece of fish swimming in hot sauce…. but right before the woman handed me my lunch, I came to and realized I was at a Korean BBQ truck, not the famed Sea World, and my mind raced into the not so distant future to anticipate this conversation:

Zach – Krieger, so how was the Korean BBQ?
Me – Really good, I got the fried fish.
Zach – You got the what?
Me – Fried Fish! it was flaky and golden and awesome!
Zach – Dude are you an idiot?
Me – Fried fish!
Zach – Is this conversation really happening?

Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

So as I came back to reality I realized that I had to do something quick. The people working there were quite friendly but asking to change your order as it’s basically finished is a bit too much to ask, so I scanned the crowd, which was about 4 people deep, to see if anyone was going to order the same dish. My savior came in the form of Matt, a nice young man who was ordering the fish anyway. I asked if he would take it for me since I ordered the wrong thing.

He looked at me strange at first which is understandable, considering how strange I look, but then said sure. I gave him my card and asked for his feedback. He actually emailed me an hour later and said of the fish, “Pretty good if you are in the mood for fried. Def needs the hot sauce and tarter or it will get a bit dry. The ‘salad’ could use some dressing too.” Thanks Matt!

Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

As far as the Korean BBQ I eventually got, well it was a decent meal and made to order so it’s literally steaming hot when you get it. But the spices were absent and the meat was just a bit bland and overcooked (for safety reasons maybe?) I splashed some hot sauce on there to bring it to life but that only did so much. I admit I’m a Korean BBQ novice, but the times I’ve had it in Koreatown I don’t remember needing hot sauce to liven up the action. And the ‘salad’ as my buddy Matt calls it, was just a bit of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. The rice had peas in it too, which is not where peas should be in my opinion.

Downtown Lunch: Korean BBQ Cart

GOD what a spectacle it must have been if you saw me that day. I actually ended up eating the entire thing on the seat of my bicycle because it was starting to rain and I had nowhere to go and when I waved at an approaching Ruth Reichl she screamed and ran in the other direction (*cries a little*)

While I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the new Korean BBQ cart on the corner of Charlton and Varick, I can say it’s a good spot to hit up if you want something different for lunch, and only want to spend 6 bucks.

I did end up asking for a sample of the fish, though, and it was tasty. Dammit Zach, next time lemme get the Fried Fish!

Korean BBQ Cart, Corner of Varick and Charlton

Photos and post by Daniel Krieger



  • Fish..Box…Fish Box…oh dear.

  • Funny stuff!
    Poor Daniel.

  • I thought I was the only one who had imaginary conversations with people I know that would actually take place so I don’t bother having the conversation with them later but then reference it anyway!
    In a way I’m really glad this place turned out to suck, since I can’t go today (cuz it’s pouring out there). I will have forgotten about the almost-Korean-BBQ- cart.

    There’s a Korean restaurant down here that is supposedly good, if you are looking to add a Korean place to the Downtown Lunch repertoire though. I think it’s called Three Sisters or Seh Ji Ma? Nearish to Fulton. I haven’t been but when I looked a while back, I read good things about their lunch specials.

  • There’s a whole lot of monochromatic gray meat in those pics, Daniel. Where’s the crispy burnt bits of korean BBQ goodness? Shit looks steamed.

  • yea i heard it was just ok. nothing like the 53rd and 6th guys.

    and there’s no char on the beef :(

  • The soondubu jigae (spicy tofu soup) at Water Cafe (Water & Pine) is actually pretty good. Comes with white rice and kimchi.

  • It does tasted steamed…that’s the best way to put it. There’s no char marks as they use a regular lunch cart cooking surface (do you call that a fryer?)

  • That cart has actually been there for about 10 months. The fish is pretty awesome. I usually ask for no salad.

  • I dont feel good with this T_T

    we have 2 different kind of rice One is fried vege rice(yellow) which has carrots and peas the other one is just plain white steamed rice.

    and for salad we have italian dressing some people put white sauce on their salad -_-;

    it’s optional :(
    you did not ask for anything
    and you messed up everything, remember?

    you ordered fried fish box and when the food was ready,
    you changed your mind

    when its buzy, that makes chefs get mad you know :.(

    its hard to make food when 9people order at once

    and the hot sauce !

    you were busy to take pictures
    you didnt say stop while I was puttin-_-

    and actually Happy well-being house cart is our new branch
    thats my mom’s another location

    I m so sad….T_ T
    anyway I am still proud of my Dad’s food :)

    I understand everybody has different taste rite? T_T…

  • worker-_-


  • Errr…. maybe you should learn something from this post instead of blaming the writer for your bad food. Grill your meat better, make it flavorful, add some spice… what you have here looks and, according to some, tastes like boiled steak. Fix that and you’ll get a good review.

  • worker-_-

    I’m sorry but the food I got was the same food everyone else was getting.. regardless of the fact I changed my order (which I admitted in the post).

    But as for the hot sauce I wasn’t complaining about anything in regards to that.. It tasted better with hot sauce but the meat shouldn’t really need it to start with.. the meat wasn’t flavored to my liking, sorry.

    The fish was good though, if I ever come back I will have to get an order of that (if I’m not banned from the cart).


  • actually I had learned a lot of things here
    and I did not blame the writer for my “bad food”

    I am saying,

    is that ok to change the order when the food is ready and packed in a bag and about 5-6customers lined up?

    and the people that who made comments, they dont know the difference between “kalbi” and “bulgogi”

    “kalbi” should be cooked on grill (char)
    and “Bulgogi” that we sell should be cooked like that (stirred)
    with some noodles, carrots and some scallions
    (however, we just put onions there)

    I just dont feel so happy because there are only bad comments :( except only one maybe?

    and I expected to have good comments on my parent’s food but it was different from my expectation

    so I felt little…. mmm

    anyway, sorry if my comments made you feel not too good :.(
    I didnt mean to

    we re not gonna ban you come and get the fish box lolz


  • Hey! Where did this place go? I have a huge crush on the girl who works there and the cart hasn’t been there for like 4 days? I am getting worried. I work half a block away and need that chicken box so bad.

  • Oh, and one other thing. For ANYONE trying to talk sh*t on this place. I dare you to find a legit place to eat with in a mile. And I am not talking about getting a sando or going to Sunrise. I am serious, there is NOTHING to eat around here AND this cart serves delicious food by a pretty girl with white glasses. I for one will not stand idle as you bash this Rubicon in street vendored deliciousness.

    I work hard for my money and this place offers and affordable solution for someone looking for a delicious lunch. 11 out of 10 stars and a knife in the foot for anyone trying to say otherwise.

  • Their Midtown cart is broken, so they moved the Downtown Cart to Midtown. Sorry!

  • i usually get the bulgogi box but i saw the girl who works there munchin on a fish pita. And anyone who’s worked in the restaurant biz know that employees usually eat something other than what they sell. So I asked to have exactly what she was having and it wasn’t on the phantom menu. So I ate it and I died b/c it was so good. Now I am a ghost. And I want a fish pita.

  • I don’t usually eat here but I tag along with my friends to see the pretty girl who handles all the orders and skrilla. The few times I have ordered it’s all been top notch, try the fish pita with white & spicy sauce.

    Lines at food places usually mean it’s on point. Welcome to New York!

    They should set up patio furniture along the side walk so I don’t have to take the delicious food back and eat it at my work desk.

  • Chris/Gabriel/Trevor – I don’t know what your deal is, but you are either the same person or using the same computer. We get the point… girl = cute. Fish pita = good. No more comments are necessary.


  • Hi Zach. Chris, Trevor, and I work together and eat lunch together. So is it that unbelievable that we would comment about a place we like to eat at? So mind your business, and don’t tell me what to do. We’ll be seeing you at the fish cart Zach…most likely waiting to beat you up. I wish the cart had soju.

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