Danji is a Korean restaurant that prides themselves for offering authentic Korean cuisine in small but sharable portions. I was at Danji, in Hell’s Kitchen, with a few friends during a very cold January night. It was so inviting to step into the warm restaurant after a brisk walk. Our friends had been waiting and we immediately started ordering. The restaurant is small and intimate. Cute is the word that comes to mind – they stash their menus in the drawers of the dining table. #KoreanRestaurantsNYC
The menu is a combination of the traditional and modern. One of my friends is a regular and took on the task of ordering for the entire table. She is a brave soul. All seemed good until we were ready for dessert. Painfully, we learned that Danji does not offer desserts!
Tofu w. ginger scallion dressing and soy vinaigrette. This dish was listed in the MODERN section of their dinner menu. Not sure why. It tasted very authentically Asian to me. It meets the authentic Asian expectations – above average for outside of Asia, I would say.
Steak tartare w. quail yolk, toasted pine nuts, asian pear: yook hwe. This was interesting. When you mix all the ingredients (which is a little difficult because everything is tiny), you get a nice smoky flavor and slight sweetness and crunch from the pear. But it was very hard to mix and it was a very small portion to share between four people.
Garlic honey wings w. sesame seeds: dalcom han dak twi-gim. I would skip this dish. It was good to fill the empty stomach but really average.
Scallion & Korean pepper pancake: gochu pajeon. Loved it. Much more superior than what I have tried in Korean restaurants in Flushing. Very well prepared and very crispy. Not too spicy.
Trio of banchan (Korean side dish). Hmmm. Lots of kimchi and kimchi flavor here. Fermented veggies or tofu is for hardcore food lovers and an acquired taste. I love kimchi for its spicy kick and for the delicious smell. See my adventure in this other Korean restaurant that uses kimchi in every dish. On the topic of fermented foods – on my last super list, I must have stinky tofu, another smelly and stinky/sour/spicy food (subjectively speaking by people who don’t like it). I find stinky tofu to be fragrant and saliva-inducing.
mmm. mmm. good.
Bulgogi beef sliders: spicy pickled cucumber & scallion salsa. This apparently is a hot item on the menu. It was good but I did not find it to be special. Just smaller than a regular burger and instead of a beef patty, we have got bulgogi. Not sure what the big deal is.
Spicy pork belly sliders: scallions, cucumber julienne & gochujang. Same idea as the bulgogi slider.
Spicy whelk salad w. buckwheat noodles: golbaengi moochim w. bibim soba gooksoo. This was spicy! Come to Mama! Finally, a Korean dish that I can identify. All the dishes we had before were not spicy enough for me; too bland from what I am used to with authentic Korean food from the Korean grocer H-Mart.
Special that day: Sable fish with baby bokchoy and daikon.
Korean fried rice.
Danji is a decent Korean restaurant with a New York trendy restaurant vibe. The diners that night all seem to have come from work or got dressed up for dinner (Really, People? So uptight.) It’s a fine place to mingle with your business peeps. The food is interestingly Korean/New York. I would not say that it’s authentically Korean; I think it’s authentic Korean flavor prepared to please the NYC professionals and bent toward a mild palate for the White constituents.
But the worst crime Danji committed is to not offer any desserts! Not acceptable. Highly recommend that Danji rethink their menus to include desserts. If you are going white, you may as well go white all the way. Don’t wimp out now.
Regardless, a fun and engaging night was had by all. Instead of desserts, my friend ordered dessert alcohol. THANK YOU for the save. Thank you for introducing me to a hip NY restaurant. 🙂
This experience took place at
346 West 52nd Street
New York, New York 10019