Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

Restaurants, Korean Midtown
Recommended
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
52 Love It
Save it
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
1/8
Paul Wagtouicz

 Kong Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
2/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Beef tartare at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
3/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Kimchi stew at Kong Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
4/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Prime boneless short rib at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
5/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Prime boneless short rib at Kong Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
6/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Spicy cold noodle at Kong Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
7/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Thinly sliced spicy pork belly at Kong Ho Dong Baekjeong

 (Paul Wagtouicz)
8/8
Paul Wagtouicz

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

For the yet-to-be converted, Korean barbecue can seem like utter chaos—a frenzy of pounding K-pop hits and smoke-spewing tableside grills always an inch or two away from firing up a lawsuit.

Upon first glance, the Manhattan outpost of the immensely popular namesake chainlet from larger-than-life Korean personality Kang Ho Dong, a professional wrestler turned comedian and MC, looks like more of the riotous same. As with its Flushing and Los Angeles siblings, crude cartoon portraits of its proprietor color the 150-seat Koreatown space, baseball-capped servers bellow greetings when diners enter, and when there’s a birthday (and there’s always a birthday), the lights suddenly go low and “Gangnam Style” goes loud.

It’s chaotic, sure, but it’s calculated chaos. Before you can even take in the raucous trappings, you’re ushered by headset-sporting hostesses to your table, where your coat’s promptly tucked into a compartment beneath your seat cushion as a mosaic of metal banchan bowls (cloud-soft slabs of tofu in chili-sesame sauce, pickled daikon radish spritzed with yuzu and beet juices) is instantly splayed across the tabletop.

Those freebies are the first clue that this is not your garden-variety KBBQ haunt. Despite the noise and crowd (a one-hour wait is a given, FYI), the cooking speaks of a quiet refinement courtesy of young-gun chef Deuki Hong, who previously put in kitchen time at Jean Georges and Momofuku.

Hong employs steakhouse-style quality control, wet-aging his Omaha beef for three weeks before the well-trained servers showcase the carne in escalating degrees of flavor and heft: Thin ruby-red sheets of brisket ($28), grilled until the edges are caramelized and craggly enough to catch droplets of soy-and-apple-vinegar sauce, are followed by gorgeously tender nubs of short rib ($39), needing only a whisper of sea salt.

Too-fatty pork jowl ($28) is better in theory than reality, but even the act alone of putting pork jowl on a Korean-barbecue menu is enough to make Hong one to watch.

By: Christina Izzo

Posted:

Venue name: Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
Contact:
Address: 1 E 32nd St
New York
10016
Cross street: at Fifth Ave
Opening hours: Mon–Thu, Sun 11:30am–2am; Fri, Sat 11:30am–6am
Transport: Subway: 6 to 33rd St (Park Ave South); B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th St–Herald Sq
Price: Average main course: $35. AmEx, MC, V
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

You may be interested in:

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
1 person listening
tastemaker

I highly recommend this Korean BBQ restaurant even though the wait can take 1-2 hours on busy nights. It is also affordable compared to other Korean restaurants in the area and the sauces are amazing. 


I love this place! Hands down one of the best KBBQ experiences I've had. The staff is great and the food is awesome. Definitely get a good healthy portion of food but make sure to come with a group so that you can share and mix up the meats and the options. We got a few combo dishes so got to try a bit of everything. The place was busy but they are experts at guiding you through the experience. The staff was there and really oversaw all the cooking - not much for you to have to pay attention to or do. We were in the midst of great laughter and conversation and the team really took on the initiative and cooked the meat and kept bringing us out more. 

tastemaker

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is my go-to spot to take any out of town visitors for their first meal. No, it's not just because I'm Korean, but because it embodies everything about New York. You get tons of variety, excess amounts of food, and high energy from the staff all at the higher NYC price. If you order the beef combo (which I highly recommend), you'll be guaranteed an amazing experience. The beef (and pork) combo lets you try three different styles of KBBQ, and one of the staff will cook it for you right at the table. With any meal you also get a plethora of banchan (usually some pickled radish, kimchee, seasoned tofu, fish cakes, and sweet potato). Forewarning that rice is an extra cost. 


On top of that, the restaurant space is huge. They have two stories that are always bustling with activity. The staff greets you in Korean as you are seated at the table, and you know they're having a good time b/c you can see them interact and joke with each other throughout your meal. 


Last added bonus is the wall of celebrities that have visited before. You never know who you might run into! Be sure to get there early (or on the later side) or be willing to wait. Luckily, there are tons of little bars nearby and a soju house across the street where you can grab a drink or two while you wait. 


What does it take for a KBBQ joint to not get drown amongst the ocean that is NYC?Could it be that a plethora of subjective Asian A-listers that dine at the eatery? Could it be that people come here in droves and are actually willing to wait? (Actually, this is one of the few Korean joints you should wait for.)


You're not going be getting a bargain for meats – price compared to other KBBQ place is the relatively the same ( apologies to the penny pinchers).


What annoys me is that KBBQ places tend to not account for table retail space – when the grill + side dishes take up 99.99% of the table, coercing you to play Tetris with whatever is left. 


This place is worth the extra spend because they do it right: quality meats, tasty banchan, and their smokeless barbecue setup really works--you don't smell like a campfire when you leave!

tastemaker

I've been to my fair share of Korean BBQ spots (all being as unmemorable as the next), but this place does it right. The banchan (the small plates that start the meal) are set up for you before you sit down and the meat is top-notch. If you order the beef combo -which you should- save room for the marinated short rib. It's the last meat to be cooked. It's also not DIY, which I didn't know before coming, and they tend to rush you out as soon as you're done, but otherwise, be prepared for an excellent, and fun, experience.