Korean food just really hits the spot for me.
Sometimes, a simple meal of rice with banchan can be the most satisfying thing ever. And there are many days when I will gladly eat that over anything else.
While New York's Koreatown is filled with lots of great options to eat, my favorite go-to restaurant for authentic Korean food is The Kunjip. No matter what I order, their food is always well made and just tastes really good. I also appreciate that their menu is sensibly priced, especially considering the quality of food that you get. I've always thought their lunch specials are a superb deal too, with the majority of options hovering around $10. Since my office is not too far from 32nd Street, I love being able to pick up stuff from there to-go on a regular basis.
The Kunjip is open 24 hours and has always been popular for its food amongst both hungry families and drunken partiers during late-night hours. For me personally though, it wasn't until they moved this year to a new and larger space across the street onto the other side of 32nd when I became a true regular. This bigger location is two floors and is usually always busy like it was at the original one. But the experience is a lot less claustrophobic, which makes a huge difference to me.
However, some things still haven't changed though. In general, The Kunjip has never been the type of restaurant where you go and have a leisurely dinner with friends for hours. If you are looking to catch up with long lost buddies over Korean food, this is not the place for you. Instead, it's a place where you're given menus while waiting to be seated so you already know what you're ordering before you sit down. It's a place where you might have some beer and soju to enhance the food but not where you're going to get shitfaced. It's a place where you get your food quickly, and can have your check dropped at your table before you've even asked. It's a place where you gather your coats and belongings to leave after you've finished eating instead of lingering about. Basically, the main point of The Kunjip is their good food.
With all that being said, the dining room's speedy pace does not at all equate to bad service. I actually think it's the complete opposite because whatever your need or request is, the staff will always provide it an efficient yet professional manner. And all the workers are friendly with good energy. I mean sure, they will try and get you out the door if you're done, but will never rush you while you're actually eating. That's just the way the restaurant runs.
One thing I've always thought The Kunjip would be particularly nice for is a date or dinner obligation you really want to be over as quickly as possible. So the next time you have to go eat with someone you'd prefer to spend minimum time with, look no further.
Below are a couple of pictures from my dinner there earlier tonight at the peak of dinner service on a Saturday.