I blame most of my hangovers since moving to New York on two of my coworkers, Noel and Alicja (pictured with another coworker, Nastassia, left). That being said, I also have them to thank for some of my best nights in the city.
After work last Saturday night, we decided we were in desperate need for Korean barbecue. As Alicja and I had never been, we were glad to have Noel along to guide us through (which means he ordered for us and we just ate :-).
We hopped into a cab and went to 32nd Street toward Koreatown. When we stepped out of the cab I felt like we had stepped into another country (I am quite often feeling this way around the city because no part ever looks like another and I'm always surprised when I see something new that I've never stumbled upon before). We wandered up the street and into Shilla Korean barbecue house: http://shillanyc.com/.
As we sat down, we ordered a round of beers. Although Noel was ordering for us, I wanted to have a look at the menu myself. Even with the pictures, I was confused.
As soon as Noel ordered our waiter brought around the banchan (or panchan), tiny plates of kimchi, pickled vegetables, fried sardines, and tiny, crispy shrimp. These (as well as the main courses) are all meant to be shared by the table. You can have no fear of the double dipper while eating here. I could already feel my eyes growing larger than my stomach.
Next we received two pasta courses, one a thick, heavy noodle with octopus and a red sauce, the other a thin, translucent noodle that was slightly sweet with vegetables.
And finally, the waiter turned on the grill that was in the middle of the table. He cooked both of the meats we had ordered (beef and shrimp) one at a time as we pulled them off to eat as they were finished. We didn't even bother wrapping the meat in the lettuce and I couldn't help but to throw on some garlic to the grill to enjoy on top of my meat.
The meal was so great, I had to force myself to quit eating when I had grown too full to stuff anymore in(but I couldn't resist taking a few more bites as we sat around talking). The only bad part about the meal was that I didn't have my camera to take any pictures of our meal. So you will have to do with an image of someone else's Korean barbecue experience.