Gaonnuri: Elevated Korean Fare
Gaonnuri is literally and figuratively elevated Korean cuisine. Situated on the 39th floor of one of Koreatown's office buildings, this semi-hidden gem could be your next escape from the other more casual Korean joints in the area.
It's a bit funny entering through an office building to reach the restaurant but it has somewhat of a speakeasy-type of feel. Once you reach the top floor, the first thing you'll see is their bar area (6 out of 10 - not too impressive). Fortunately, almost every seat in their dining area has a solid view of the New York City landscape. It's a great place to impress friends or dates.
Gaonnuri is distinct with its cleanliness and upscale atmosphere. Compared to other K-town establishments, I'd say that I haven't been concerned with Gaonnuri's quality of ingredients and respect for food safety. Here, you can still watch them grill your meats at the table (if requested). The tall ceilings and effective ventilation also help ensure that you don't smell like a walking maillard reaction at the end of your meal.
For the food, I would recommend their cod dishes, bossam (pork belly), and the BBQ. I personally like their grilled chicken breast. It's tastier and less dry than the other K-town places. In terms of price, Gaonnuri is reasonable and you're kind of paying for the view too. I think it's good for its value.
Hope you can check it out!
This is Gaonnuri's Fried Calamari Salad. The calamari is fried and seasoned with gochujang, a sweet and spicy fermented red pepper paste. It's a Korean staple.
Anyway, the salad itself is forgettable but the calamari on top is good. I respectfully request that the sad salad be excused from this dish. Thank you!
The Black Cod Gui was good. It's probably in my top 10 Asian-style cod dishes in the city. The sweetness of the cod is just too addicting.
On the side, try the bean paste and baekkimchi (white kimchi).
Gaonnuri's Black Cod Jorim isn't as great as the Black Cod Gui but it's still pretty good. The fish is sitting in a spicy pepper broth. I recommend eating this one over rice.
It's accompanied by some King Oyster Mushroom, Radish, and Pepper.
I do like Gaonnuri's Bossam. This pork belly dish is instrumental to having a successful Korean meal. How can you resist those tender, fatty slices of pork?! The 1:1 fat-to-meat ratio is the key to a happy life.
Enjoy with Kimchi.
Here's the Chicken Breast I was talking about earlier. It's been lightly marinated in Soy. The meat is juicy and not dry at all. I like that the meat is a bit sweeter thanks to the soy marinade. It's almost caramelized.
I think that you can't have this cooked at the table and they have to prepare it in the kitchen. I get this dish almost every time just because it's so reliable.
The Galbi Jjim is a stewed dish made with Beef Short Rib, Carrot, and Chestnut. It's not as good as my mom's but its tasty.
The meat is decently tender. It's a great dish for a cold winter night.
To share, we also got the Haemul Pajun. This scallion pancake is packed with an assortment of diced seafood, including calamari, clam, and shrimp.
Dip in soy to enjoy this fried seafood greatness. I like Gaonnuri's haemul pajun more because it's not oily and gross.
Whenever I eat with Steph, we always have to get all the mushroom dishes on the menu. She loves her shrooms!
This grilled Mushroom Platter comes with Shiitake, King Oyster Mushroom, and Squash. The mushrooms are savory and juicy. Do you doubt that mushrooms can be a good meat alternative? If so, try these out. This will make you question life.
The Yuk Ge Jang is a spicy soup with tofu, mushrooms, and beef. I thought it was alright. It felt a little bit sterile but it's good if you're not feeling well and need some reviving.
For the BBQ, we ordered the beef combo. It comes with Galbi (short rib), Marinated Galbi, Bulgogi (thinly sliced ribeye or flank steak), and Ribeye.
The quality is pretty good. I think the marinated galbi is the star of the show.
For dessert, we shared the BFBA (Black Forest Baked Alaska). It's a fun party trick. This Devil's Food Cake is covered with Italian Meringue, stuffed withTahitian Vanilla Ice Cream and Cherry Sorbet then set on fire.
This dish is actually lit. The fire caramelizes some of the exterior so it's a bit crispy when you cut into it.
The Ice Cream Trio comes with Black Sesame, Tahitian Vanilla, and Green Tea. My favorite is the black sesame!