This stretch of 32nd Street in Manhattan is known for round the clock Korean-style revelry, with great and often gritty restaurants, karaoke bars, lots of flashing neon lights and 24hr spas of all types. When it comes to the Korean food in this animated neighborhood, one of my regular spots is New Wonjo. A change of owners brought new energy to this beloved barbecue spot a few years ago, and the food has never been better. The do-it-yourself barbecued meats are what draw in the large crowds, and live charcoal is used, not the less-than-satisfactory electric griddle plates used elsewhere. There’s also a lengthy menu of other Korean specialties worth trying. The spread of banchan – a selection of pickled, steamed and cured items that appear in dizzying numbers before your meal is served – includes Korean standards such as kimchi, sweet radish and fermented black beans with peanuts. The spicy kimchi pancake appetizer is the perfect way to kick off the meal. Their jap chae is superb, as is their marinated raw crabs served several ways. For the tabletop grill, I’d suggest trying the galbi (marinated beef short ribs), and the squid and sliced pork belly married in hot chile paste, but you can’t go wrong with any choices here. Korean mainstays such as bibimbap, short rib stew and spicy ox bone stew are delicious but if you like hot spicy chigae, the codfish egg version here is sublime.
23 West 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001