Far from the popular Korea Town (aka K-Town) area and in the posh TriBeCa, sits a dynamic Korean barbecue joint called Gunbae. This place is not only a restaurant, but also offers karaoke private rooms that are probably used by the crowd after a delicious meal full of classic Korean dishes. We were just looking for a place to go in that area and I am glad we stumbled upon it: good food, great service and good atmosphere, although the noise level, with the loud music doesn't suit a romantic dinner.
We could have gone for their traditional BBQ, the table having the grill in the center, but went more for a classic bowl, understand bibimbap (rice) and jiggae (stew). Of course, before we started our meal, they brought us some banchan, these little side dishes that I am always looking forward to try. It was composed of a salad, a potato salad, soybeans, pickled lotus roots and my all time favorite: kimchi.
As a beverage, I decided to try a sikhye, a traditional sweet Korean drink made with rice. Delicious and not too sweet, it is supposed to help digest. What was nice from the restaurant is that they saw Jodi try it and like it and offered us another one. Nice gesture for sure that surprised us.
We first ordered an appetizer and chose the fried pork dumplings. I was expecting something similar to gyoza and was surprised to see these dumplings that look more like small empanadas (kind of). These were delightfully crispy and the filling was juicy and tasty. Definitely a good start.
For our entrées, Jodi picked the tofu bibimbap that came with an egg. It was delicious, with the right amount of rice over vegetables.
The pot was piping hot and created a fantastic rice crust that I consider the best part with bibimbap.
On my side, I went for a bulgogi hot pot that was made with marinated ribeye, shiitake mushrooms, glass noodles, served in a beef broth. That also came piping hot, the broth still boiling, with a very appetizing smell emanating from the bowl.
It was served with rice that I put in the broth. Overall, it was delicious, the thinly sliced beef being tender and very tasty. I loved the fact that there were glass noodles in it, adding a different texture, although I would have liked more of it. And that broth was amazing, perfect alone or all over the rice. It is definitely a dish I recommend.
We had a great time at Gunbae, another great find in TriBeCa. I would for sure go back there, and this time, try their BBQ.
Enjoy (I did)!
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