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Hell's Kitchen
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With butcher-block tables, inventive Korean-inspired small plates and a Michelin star to boot, this diminutive eatery is of the rare breed that would likely be just as packed downtown as it is on West 52nd Street. Chef Hooni Kim (Daniel, Masa) brings his haute French training to bear on the food of his homeland, splitting the menu between traditional dishes and modernist riffs. His flavors are bright and fresh, with a great balance of sweet, spicy and funky elements. The classics seem, for the most part, like upgrades on their source material—scallion pancakes are exceptionally fat and crispy, while chili-slicked buckwheat noodles are paired with a beer-friendly salad of spicy vegetables and chewy, briny whelks. The updated stuff is equally appealing. Sliders may be passé, but you won’t want to miss Kim’s addictive bulgogi beef variety, served on pillowy grilled buns with spicy pickles and scallion salsa.
Venue name: Danji
Address: 346 W 52nd St
New York
Cross street: between Eighth and Ninth Aves
Opening hours: Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 6pm–1am; Fri noon–3pm, 6pm–2am; Sat 6pm–2am
Transport: Subway: C, E to 50th St (Eighth Ave)
Price: Average small plate: $12. AmEx, MC, V
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