Few days after meeting Chef Hooni Kim in a cooking class at De Gustibus Cooking School in Macy's, Jodi, Cindy from Chubby Chinese Girl Eats and her husband Derrick, and I decided to go to Hanjan, one of the Chef's restaurant located few minutes from the Flatiron.
Nice place, warm and casual, with a large communal table in the center of the room. Our meal there was fantastic: not your classic Korean meal, rather an elevated version of it without losing its soul. We went on a Monday, so we even got to try some of the Korean-Chinese specialties proposed that day. To accompany our meal, we got some drinks. The Yangbang Cowboy cocktail for me, made with whiskey, bek seju (aka "100 years wine", Korean rice-based fermented alcoholic beverage flavored with a variety of herbs, ginseng most prominent among them) and vermouth.
Jodi got a raspberry fizz made with mint, lemon, muddled raspberries and lemon.
We decided to try several dishes, the menu offering plenty of small plates perfect for sharing. The first one was the homemade tofu, served with a perilla jjang vinaigrette. This is similar to the dish the Chef cooked for us at the class and, like there, we were not disappointed: that tofu is sublime, soft and silky. I think that people who only tried the tofu bought in supermarket, that unfortunately a lot of restaurants serve, are missing something.
Next was the spicy rice cakes with pork fat (ddukbokki). This dish is also served at Chef Kim's other restaurant, Danji, but at Hanjan, it is made with fish cakes rather than Chinese sausage. This is one of my favorite dishes: not only it looks beautiful with that red sauce smothering the crispy and chewy rice cakes, but it is delicious. Spicy for sure, but so good that you will not stop eating it.
Then, we tried, complimentary from the Chef, the Hiramasa King fish tartare, served over a crispy rice. Beautiful presentation and delicious taste, I loved the addition of the crispy rice that added a nice texture.
Another dish offered by the Chef was the spicy garlic fried chicken: delightfully crispy, the chicken was moist, perfectly cooked.
Then came one of the best dishes of the evening: the thick noodles in black bean sauce with pork belly. This is a must have: the noodles were literally smothered in a delicious thick sauce that was very tasty.
Last was the Wagyu beef fried rice, topped with a sunny side up egg. Very good, comforting, very slightly greasy.
We left amazed by the meal at Hanjan that went beyond our expectations. Danji was our next target and, as you will see in couple of days, we went there for lunch few days after...
Enjoy (I did)!
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