Don’s Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar, NYC
Cuisine: Korean barbeque
Price: $25-30 per person for food + tax/tip
Don’s Bogam has been my go-to Korean BBQ restaurant in NYC for the past few years and I personally think it serves the best KBBQ in town. The only time I deviate from Don’s Bogam is after 2am when Don’s is closed and somehow I always end up at Kum Gang San wondering when will I ever see someone perform at that random white piano on the rocks… But I digress.
As indicated by its name, the restaurant also functions as a wine bar. The bar area is sparse but pleasant enough to enjoy a few glasses of vino; however, I have only have come here on eating missions. Don’s Bogam sports a very sleek, clean interior with dark wood paneling, empty wine bottles for decor, and fancy overhead exhaust fans above each table grill. The restaurant has both grill and non-grill tables, so you should specify which you prefer when you make a reservation. Reservations are definitely recommended as this place is typically pretty packed. I always prefer having one of the table-top barbeque tables in the back as I love watching my food getting cooked right in front of me. But the non-grill tables are available for those who don’t want to have that (delicious) bbq smoke smell permeating all their clothes. The menu states “cook your own” but I have never really found that to be the case at most Korean joints as your server will always cook it for you. I only seem to get to touch the tongs when grabbing the cooked meats off the grill and onto my plate… but that is completely cool with me!
The table-top barbeque tables in the back can be a bit difficult to climb in and out of as they are low to the ground in the traditional Asian style where diners sit in a kneeling position with their legs under them. However, the modern version here cheats a bit as there is a drop down area for your legs. The grill tables can seat 4-8 people and are perfect for a large group to enjoy the amazing selection of marinated meats and vegetables, as well as fresh banchan side dishes that come with every Korean meal.
Now that it’s getting colder in New York, I am craving a steaming bowl of their fall-off-the-bone-and-melt-in-your-mouth galbijim and a sizzling stone pot of bibimbap. Mhmm salivating… I shall let the food photos do the rest of the talking!
BANCHAN: traditional Korean side dishes
Pajori: green onion salad
Yup, that’s just green onions in salad form. I always thought it was a bit weird, but it has grown on me over time… a nice palate cleanser!
Baechu Kimchi: napa cabbage fermented with chili peppers
Can’t have Korean food without kimchi!
Myulchi Bokkeum: stir fried dried anchovies
Crunchy and salty — like eating chips! Asian people do love seafood-flavored chips though…
I love daikon, it’s such a refreshing vegetable!
“Moochim” translates to “mixed stuff” so basically this is mixed imitation crab and veggies
Ggakugi Kimchi: Korean Pickled Radish/Daikon
My favorite, spicy and crunchy daikon!
This is not Korean really… this is well, coleslaw and potato salad hybrid I suppose?
Fish Cake Salad
Fish cakes can be a bit dense, but lightly sautéed with pepper and carrots make this side dish a winner
Shumai: steamed shrimp dumplings
Not as tasty as Chinese restaurants (click here to read about good Chinatown finds in NYC!), I would stick to the real Korean food here
Steamed Mandu: dumplings of seasoned ground pork & vegetables
Mandu, on the other hand, are dumplings in Korean cuisine. Very plump and juicy!
Japchae: potato glass noodles stir-fried with vegetables and egg
One of my all time favorite Korean dishes. I love glass noodles — they just taste “lighter” than regular wheat/flour noodles.
Galbi: short ribs marinated and grilled with mushrooms
Grab a bibb lettuce and wrap some grilled meat with some rice, kimchi and any other of the never ending delicious sides. Also try the galbi marinated in their special spicy sauce! Other great “cook your own” items include pretty much all of the meats including beef tongue, skirt steak, and beef rib brisket. The seafood items aren’t bad, but not really the highlight for me.
Galbijim: braised beef rib casserole
My ultimate favorite Korean dish everrrr! I love the fall-off-the-bone-and-melt-in-your-mouth beef ribs that are slow braised in a sweet and savory stew with root vegetables
I always order the original vegetable bimbimbap because I am already on carnivore overload by this time… I love claypot rice, especially scraping the crispy charred rice stuck to the sides! Yum!