There are so many hidden gems in Korea Town that sometimes my boyfriend and I would overlook. Besides the obvious restaurants on ground level, there are a ton on the second and third floor. I would've missed Arang if not for the bright color door and the crowd that was blocking the sidewalk in front of KunJip (another Korean restaurant).
The walk up the stairs were short, which I appreciate. We got seated by the window which I thought was amazing. You get to see the shops across the street and the people walking by underneath, I also really like how the night gradually got darker.
We were starving so we ordered a bit more than we used to, but no worries, we were able to sort of finish our food.
I've always wanted to try their Korean soju straight from the bottle. Having drank a lot of soju and sake in the past, I wasn't too afraid how strong or bad it would taste. The Chum Churum soju had a clean after taste and just a slight tinge of alcohol. Comparison would be like a weak vodka.
The banchan were pretty good that night, unless we were just really hungry and anything that was given tasted really good. I liked the kimchi and potato salad best, radish was just ok. I usually stray away from potato salad because it's too creamy with the mayo but this was the total opposite, I approve!
The star of the night, the real reason why we came. This massive dish of Calamari Dduk Bokki with Cheese is like a dish made in heaven and sent down directly to us. It was that good. Different than the usual dduk bokki we get since this was slightly on the sweet side which really toned down the spicyness of the dish. Although, we didn't mind if it was more spicy but we were satisfy with what was given. What really stood out from this dish were the thinly sliced zucchini which you don't see in dduk bokki dishes, clever addition.
After having the Seafood Pancake so many times at different locations we slowly appreciate it and consider it one of our fall backs for Korean food if needed. You can tell the different color contrast on the pancake, definitely wasn't cooked evenly. We ate all the charred and browned crispy pieces while giving the other side no love. The pancake by itself lacked flavor but once you dip it in that wonderful sauce, it brings out all the hidden flavors in the pancake...so magical! This was one of the dishes that we couldn't finish.
J is pretty crazy about fish, I like fish but not insanely crazy about it. We saw the Grilled Mackerel on the menu and I just gave J the "ok" so if he wanted it he could order it. The fish came with no bones, yes!!! Mackerels have a lot of tiny thin bones and it's a pain to eat but since this was de-boned, even better. It was also really meaty as you can see in the photo. It wasn't seasoned at all so the lemon and the sauce helped a lot. Though, with just the zesty lemon it still tasted amazing.
Our set up and chow down of the night.
I really enjoyed this meal just because it was really laid back and comfortable.
Note - the cheese dduk bokki is a great, and I do mean great, comfort food when you're tipsy or drunk.
9 W 32nd St, 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10001