We had a great lunch at Samwon Garden on West 32 Street in NYC. First of all, I never realized that there was such a tiny and adorable Koreatown in New York City. It spans a couple of blocks filled with Korean restaurants and shops. I have an extra addiction to all things Korean, having become slightly more familiar with Korean culture due to my favorite TV show, Kim’s Convenience. I just feel like we all need an Appa in our lives.
We went to Samwon Garden because Michelin’s 2020 Restaurant Guide recommends it and it is the oldest Korean BBQ house in Seoul, South Korea. I also wanted to give my teen daughter an authentic Korean experience. NYC has many landmarks to see, but it is ideal for immersing oneself in different cultures. The restaurant is beautifully decorated outside, where you walk through a floral archway that transports you through a Korean garden. The inside is very cozy, with my favorite part being the stairwell to the bathroom. Flowers and branches flank it. We took so many pictures of the staircase.
Korean BBQ is prepared on a gas or charcoal grill built into the dining table, using various meats. No need to worry about cooking your food because a server does all that for you. We sampled the prime rib eye, sliced prime short ribs, and marinated Korean short ribs. There are also many vegetarian dishes. While the meat is cooking, they serve various side dishes and pickled items. One of the dishes is their fantastic kimchi. You will never buy kimchi in a jar again because this kimchi will spoil you.
The two unique factors that make Samwon stand out, besides the decor, are the high quality of the meats and the service. We had a great time speaking with our server while he grilled our meats. It is an intimate experience where we learned just as much about him as the food. Our server was exceptionally attentive and explained everything and really added to the experience of the meal.
When you combine the reputation, decor, food quality, and service, you have an almost perfect meal and experience. If you are not visiting NYC anytime soon, you can order nationally on Goldbelly.