When I got invited by Sang Kim, the owner of Madangsui Korean BBQ to try his restaurant, I was really excited: each time I go to a Korean restaurant, it reminds me of my trip to South Korea many year ago, when I got to try my first BBQ.
Couple of blocks from the heart of Korea Town, Madangsui is located on 35th street. Next to the entrance is a display of their dishes that I admit makes you hungry and wonder what you should order, so many dishes looking yummy.
Then is the dining room, similar to lots of Korean restaurants, if not for the distinctive sign that is present on each pillar:
I was wondering what it was until I understood what Madangsui means in Korean: man. It implies a person with strong moral fiber who rises early, works hard and helps those around him according to the restaurant who does not hesitate to associate the definition to Sang Kim, the owner, who opened this place in 2007 and explains the concept of the restaurant in his press release:
“My mission is to introduce organic Korean food – especially our BBQ – to Americans throughout the country, as well as to travelers from abroad,” says Mr. Kim. “I started working in a Korean restaurant as a waiter in college, just loved the industry and was promoted to manager. Here at Madangsui I’m always delighted when people love our food – and even more so when they come back for more!”
“We use only USDA prime meat,” says Mr. Kim. “Our beef comes from pasture- raised and grain-finished cattle that are humanely treated by American cattlemen and we use wet- and dry-aging methods with the utmost care. So what we serve is the highest quality American beef, prepared Korean style.”
With an introduction like that, I was ready to check for myself especially after looking at the menu, crafted by Chef Hyun Kim: with plenty of vegetarian choices, it proposes a large selection of BBQ, Bibimbap, soups, noodles...
So we sat at one of the tables that had a grill in the center and few minutes later, they brought us the banchan, these little side dishes served at the beginning of the meal.
A Korean restaurant without banchan is like a French restaurant with no bread! What they served us was: mashed potatoes.
As a drink, I opted for a Korean wheat wine (Saeng Mak Geol Li) rather than the usual soju.
It was served in a big bowl with a large spoon and looked milky.
It was very close to unfiltered sake.
Our first appetizer was the jap-chae, Korean glass noodles fried with vegetables and beef, seasoned with soy sauce.
These noodles were fantastic! Made with sweet potatoes, they have a nice sweetness that married very well with the vegetables and beef. This is definitely an appetizer I recommend.
The second appetizer was the mandoo or dumplings.
We had the choice between fried or steamed and we chose steamed. They were stuffed with beef, pork and vegetables.
These were also very good: the shell was not too thick, not doughy and the filling very flavorful. Needless to say that we ate them all...
For the entree, we first picked the bulgogi bibimbap.
Bibimbap is a rice dish that comes in a bowl that is extremely hot, so the ingredients continue to cook in it, creating a delicious crust with the rice. The photo above shows the rice bowl before being heated, and the photo below after, once all the ingredients have been mixed together.
Unfortunately, the bibimbap was a miss for me. I found it bland with not enough beef in it.
Next was the BBQ. We chose the Yang-Nyum Galbi that is marinated short rib. They started off by turning on the grill in the center of the table.
Then, then brought us the different ingredients. First was the lettuce:
Then, the onions:
The chili paste sauce (not spicy):
And the star of the show: galbi or short ribs.
That meat looked definitively of good quality, with a nice marbling and thick cut.
They put it on the grill with the slice of onion, mushroom and pepper it came with.
There, it cooked for few minutes.
Once ready, we picked a lettuce on which we put some onions, some meat and some chili paste.
We then closed the lettuce and ate it like a sandwich. The first bite was divine, all the ingredients working well together, but letting the incredible pieces of short rib shine. I could have just eaten the meat alone: tender and juicy, it had a rich flavor. To my surprise, Jodi who is usually not a big fan of Korean BBQ loved it (I thought I would have all of it for myself...).
I really liked my dinner at Madangsui and may have found my new spot for Korean BBQ, my favorite one having closed a couple of years ago. The meat there is definitely of higher quality and I will probably go back as they offer other selections of BBQ such as the well known Bulgogi, tongue or seafood.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!
Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!