There are a number of options for enjoying delicious Korean food in New York City. Whether you're looking for barbecue or bibimbap, here are the best restaurants in Queens serving the cuisine.
What It Is: The first East Coast location of Korean wrestler and TV personality Kang Ho Dong's Korean barbecue empire.
What Our Inspectors Say: "The menu is focused, the space is enormous, the air is clean and the service is friendly. Start your grill off with steamed egg, corn, cheese and more to cook along the sides, while marbled pork belly or deeply flavorful marinated skirt steak strips sizzle at the center. Bibimbap is a classic rendition, mixing beef seasoned with gochujang, vegetables, sesame, nori and crisp sprouts in a hot stone bowl-so hot that it sears the bottom rice to golden while cooking the raw egg on top."
What It Is: A Korean barbecue restaurant in Flushing.
What Our Inspectors Say: "The contemporary dining room is spacious and airy, with the warm, always informative, staff buzzing from table to table. [...] It's hard to go wrong on Hahm Ji Bach's delightful menu, but don't miss the samgyeopsal, tender slabs of well-marinated pork belly sizzled to crispy perfection tableside for you to swaddle in crisp lettuce with paper-thin daikon radish, spicy kimchi and bright scallions; or the mit bachan, a hot clay pot with soft steamed eggs, kimchi, tofu, pickled cucumbers, and spicy mackerel."
What It Is: This spot in Sunnyside is known for its house-made tofu.
What Our Inspectors Say: "They [...] clearly know the many secrets of tofu: the kitchen makes its own, on view at the front of the restaurant, then deploys it in a series of silken soondubu (soft bean curd stews). Served scalding hot in a ddukbaegi or glazed earthenware cauldron, this bubbling piquant broth contains your choice of pork, seafood or even beef intestine. But kimchi, the funky favorite, is the hands-down winner."
What It Is: Go here if you're on the hunt for authentic Korean specialties.
What Our Inspectors Say: "Don't let the 24/7 hours fool you; this is one of the stronger Korean kitchens around. Meals begin with an unending supply of wonderfully crisp kimchi. Also try the hearty bibimbap of marinated beef strips, root vegetables and mushrooms alongside a bowl of ox-bone broth. The main attraction is the sensational jeon, traditional Korean pancakes grilled to order (weekend dinners only). Boyang tang, a tropical-hued stew, is not to be skipped if you love goat."
What It Is: A "pig-loving barbecue destination" off the Long Island Railroad.
What Our Inspectors Say: "Begin with the usual but very exquisite banchan-like pickled turnips, fermented bean paste soup, and specially aged house kimchi—funky, garlicky and a total pleasure. Bowls of glassy naengmyun noodles dancing in a chilled broth with kimchi are just as popular. Yet what makes this place unique is that barbecue grill on each table, used for sizzling slices of flavorful duck with miso, garlic cloves and bean sprouts; spicy, tender bits of octopus; and sweet, fatty pork with soy sauce, red chile paste and scallions."
Photo: Seafood pancake at Hahm Ji Bach (via Yelp).