Daily, 24 hours
B, D, F, M, N, Q, R at 34th St.-Herald Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
28th St. to 36th St., Madison Ave. to Seventh Ave.
On this Little Koreatown block, everyone is looking for an edge. Kum Gang San, a large, loud bi-level restaurant, built a faux cliff and waterfall to stand out, and added occasional live entertainment. The Korean interpretations of pop tunes that emanate from the white baby grand piano on the cliff's edge are an oddity worth experiencing, but the food—and the barbecue in particular—doesn’t need the kitsch, because it stands on its own. The best of the barbecue is the special kalbi, soy sauce-marinated boneless short ribs cooked, if you choose, at your table. If you have an aversion to smoke-sizzled red meat, the samchui gui, crisp-broiled mackerel, is a more than worthy alternative. The large array of appetizers are tempting, but why bother when plates of side dishes like aromatic kim chee, and pickled bean sprouts that accompany the entrees, will totally blanket your table. If there’s any free space, try the bi bim bap, a bowl of sautéed vegetables, ground beef, a fried egg, and chili sauce that you mix with steamed rice at the table. Ask your waiter for extra raw garlic and chili peppers and you might get a beyond-brusque smile.Recommended Dishes
Special kalbi, $30.95; bi bim bap, $14.95; samchi gui, $20.95