Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong: Enticing Mortals with Korean BBQ
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, "KHDB" for short, opened up right next to my apartment a few months ago. Since then, I've been back four times for the marinaded beef combo just because it's so awesomely satisfying and because I crave KBBQ at least 49 times a day.
It's owned by comedian and MC Kang Ho Dong and is definitely one of my favorite Korean BBQ places in the city right now.The restaurant has two floors and a lot of seating. But, it does not seat that well for groups of 6+. Keep this in mind. If you check out the low ratings on Yelp, you will see that a lot of people complain about service and seating for large groups. Yes, the wait can get long if you do not go early. But, I don't recall service being bad at all. Each time I went, our server was very friendly and helpful in preparing our BBQ.
I always come looking like a bum because I know I'm going to smell like delicious BBQ when I leave. If it were socially acceptable, I would be fine smelling like this every day but, sadly, I can't or else people will want to eat me :( One of my favorite things about this place is that they are only open for dinner but they are open very late. So, when I'm up late working on the blog or playing video games, I can just walk over past midnight and satisfy my KBBQ craving.
The next time I come back, I swear I'll get the pork combo. And, maybe write a part 2 for KHDB. Thanks for reading!
As soon as you are seated, the servers bring over a bunch of tiny appetizers or things to eat with your BBQ. You get Kimchi, soft tofu in a soy-chili sauce, pickled beets, cut romaine lettuce, steamed squash, gochujang dressing, and a house dipping sauce with wasabi. The grill is laden with a row of corn covered in mozzarella and another row of raw egg. When your meat cooks, the cheese will melt over the corn, causing your heart to melt as well, and the raw egg will slowly solidify into eggy goodness.
The menu has 5 appetizers, 2 combos (pork and beef), 6 individual beef plates, 5 individual pork plates, 6 a la carte meals (rice, noodles, etc.), and some reasonably priced drinks (soju, makgeoli, etc.). Interestingly, you will not find the traditional bone-in galbi (short rib) on the menu.
As I said earlier, I have only tried the marinaded beef combo (see above) because it's just that great. They don't freeze their meats, which means the meat is crazy fresh. The combo comes with thinly sliced brisket, seasoned prime short rib, and a choice between unseasoned prime boneless short ribs or prime rib eye.
The thinly sliced brisket is a great starter. It's nice, tender, and juicy. It comes from the lower chest of the beef. It's very similar to the type of brisket you might see in your pho. When cooked at high temperatures, brisket can have a seemingly dry texture. Luckily, KHDB knows to cook it just past medium rare so it's not too dry. The seasoned prime short rib is magnificent and beautifully smokey and meaty. Just thinking about it is making me lightheaded.
I've tried both options and I prefer the rib eye (see above) because it's remarkably juicy. The unseasoned prime boneless short ribs are very tasty though. Rib eye has a really awesome marbling, making it one of the richest cuts available. If you don't really have a preference, you can just flip a coin or pick one at random.
When you start eating, I recommend using the gochujang dressing and/or the house sauce. The gochujang dressing is made with bean sprouts, scallions, and a sweet sauce. This helps balance the richness of the meat. As soon as you start to eat the rib eye, you will notice that the rib eye is well versed in the art of seduction, as you are slowly beguiled by this alluring sensation. The combos also come with a complimentary bowl of bean paste soup or kimchi soup. Both are good.
Finally, you get the seasoned prime short rib (see above). This is probably the best meat BBQ'd meat I've had in NYC. That is all.