23 W. 32nd St.
New York, NY 10001
Date of Last Visit: Thursday, May 3, 2007
The Victims: Shinny, Monica, Kim
The Damage: $50 USD per person.
The Background: Oh my God but did I get up at 4 a.m. on Thursday or what? I did. And it sucked, big big time. But see, I am always convinced that I am not fully packed, so extra time in the a.m. is key. And I was on the 9 a.m. flight out of Heathrow to NYC. Well, Newark actually. Same difference.
More Background: I was flying to NY specifically for Feathers’ bachelorette (aka hen) party. (More on that to come!!!) But like I said to the guy at Immigration in Newark when he asked me, an American citizen, for the purpose of my visit to the U.S. of A., "Dude, I’m from here." (In NY-ese, I believe a more proper phrasing would be something like "Because I was born here, Jackass. Now let me in.)
I forget about New York sometimes. I forget about the peculiar way we have of talking to (at?) each other. I forget about the bizarre combination of friendliness-nosiness-rudeness. I forget about Yonkers and the Van Wyck and the Belt Parkway and Starrett City and the F train and the Babylon Branch of the LIRR. I don’t recognize the area codes anymore. I have trouble remembering what comes before Wantagh-Seaford-Massapequa-Massapequa Park-Amityville-Copaigue-Lindenhurst-and-Babylon. And I don’t know how to to describe where Breezy Point is anymore.
But it’ll come back to me. I have hope.
The Restaurant: I make plans to meet up with Shinny and Monica at a Korean BBQ place in mid-town. Shin and I went to Korea together in 2004, and speaking very honestly, we ate very well. Very very well. She was a fantastic host. As Shin knows, I’ve been talking about the tofu soup I had somewhere in Korea for the last three years. So I was excited to relive the Korean experience with her at Wonjo, one of the few places left in the city where they still do charcoal-fired BBQ (as opposed to gas-fired).
The Food: Shinny is in charge and she loads us up with bolgogi–raw marinated beef that you barbecue at the table–Korean pancakes (rice flour and scallions and all sorts of good things made into an omelette), little dishes of kimchee and radishes (I will butcher the spelling but I think the collective little dish experience is known as pan chan) and lots and lots of bean paste. Love bean paste. We make Korean lettuce "tacos" and we are very happy. But we have terrible garlic breath.
The Drink: We wash this all down with OB beer (how unforunate for their Western marketing) and Kim goes for the Soju.
The Verdict: Really enjoyable, although eating so much raw and cooked garlic was a bad idea…on the treadmill the next day, I could totally smell my own garlic sweat and so could the dude next to me. Yuk!