Mon-Sat, 24 hours; Sun, closed
1, 2, 3 at 34th St.-Penn Station; B, D, F, N, Q, R, V, W at 34th St.-Herald Sq.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
27th St. to 34th St., Park Ave. to Sixth Ave.
Opened in 1979, this three-level, 24-hour Korean restaurant claims to be the oldest in the city, to which peeling floral wallpaper and battered menus attest. Industrial metal hoods hang above each table, sucking the smoke that emanates from braziers heated by natural charcoal—rarities among so many gas-powered grills. This is where Kom Tang outshines many of its K-town compatriots. Order two or more barbecue-able meats (which is almost inevitable unless you're dining solo) and a waiter will bring a brazier and plates piled with raw meat and start cooking over the glowing coals. When your choice (tripe, thinly sliced short ribs, marinated pork) is slightly charred and imbued with smoke, you wrap slices in lettuce leaves spread with pungent, salty bean paste and jam the parcels into your mouth. The meal peaks here. Panchan, the array of little dishes that arrive with most Korean meals, is dull: tofu, for example, is heavy and rubbery, and kim chi lacks the sharp spiciness that makes other renditions such a pleasure to eat. The Korean staple bibimbap also disappoints. Brought to the table in a sizzling earthenware bowl, the mélange of rice, vegetables, and meat is monotonous when it should be a jumble of varied textures and tastes. After you leave, though, it is the scent of that grilled meat, not the letdowns, that stay with you—in your mind and on your clothes.Recommended Dishes
Kori Kom Tang, $8.95; mandoo kuk, $8.95; kalbi gui, $22.95; jeyook gui, $22.95