With all the Korean Barbecue restaurants in K-Town (31st to 36th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenue), does New York City really need another one? Normally we would say no, however Gaonnuri is one of the few upscale Korean options in the area so naturally we had to check it out. When we first stepped out of the elevator into the luxury penthouse that is Gaonnuri, we were greeted by friendly staff members and striking interior design. With 10,000 square feet of stunning architecture and furnishings in addition to the breathtaking views, Gaonnuri definitely stands out from the other Korean restaurants in Korea-town as a premium contender. It is as great for romantic dates as it is for large dinner gatherings. As you we were seated to our table, we couldn’t help but to be captured by the panoramic views of New York City. From the decor alone we could tell that details are extremely important in the operation of Gaonnuri.
For our dinner we started with the “Yukhui” which is a Korean take on beef tartare. It is marinated with their own special recipe that is soy sauce and sesame oil based and is prepared with garlic, pear, and red pepper slices. The beef slices were very tender and the nutty, toasty flavors of the marinade were a great contrast to the sweetness of the pear slices. The beef slices were very tender and the nutty, toasty flavors of the marinade were a great contrast to the sweetness of the pear slices. We then moved onto the barbecue portion of our meal, where the waiters grill the meat right in front of you in the middle of the table. To uphold the high-end theme, there are ventilation ducts built into the grill so that guest will not leave Gaonnuri with the smell of barbecued meat (while we must admit is quite good, but may not be a good substitute for one’s cologne or perfume). This is something that I personally appreciate as I have always considered this to be an annoyance after dining at Korean BBQ restaurants. We had a serving of the “Marinated Galbi” and another serving of the “Pork Belly”. Again, their Galbi is marinated in their own recipe that is also soy sauce and sesame oil based. The pork belly is not marinated due to the fattiness of the meat that provides a ton of flavor in itself. The texture is similar to that of bacon but much thicker and less saltier. Each serving of meat was complemented by “Ban Chan” (side dishes) that ranged from kimchi, soy bean paste, pickled daikon and spicy squid to a cabbage salad that is normally dressed in a light soy sauce/rice wine vinaigrette but here, a wasabi based dressing is used. I was pleasantly surprised that the side dishes were not overpowering which is important as the main highlight is the meat. A distinguishing factor of Gaonnuri from other Korean restaurants is that they have their own pastry chef for their dessert portion of the menu offering a range of French-inspired concoctions. The current pastry chef used to work at Daniel before coming to Gaonnuri which set out expectations a bit high. We ended our meal with the “Pineapple Cremeux” and the “Snickers Bar”. Both dishes had lots of textures and ingredients combining together to form an amazing flavor profile. It is evident that a lot of effort and precision was put into the presentation of the plating. It is not all French-based as the pastry chef implemented “Yukkuri” into the mix which is a Korean dessert that is comprised of rice but made to be a sweet with a pudding-like consistency.
Overall we really enjoyed our dinner at Gaonnuri. The decor is absolutely stunning and the kitchen is able to serve high quality food that is able to put their own twist on Korean cuisine while still remaining authentic. The menu isn’t priced too much higher than other upscale options in the area which is great because you are getting a whole lot more in terms of decor, creativity and service than their competition. While we did visit Gaonnuri during their soft-opening, the restaurant officially opens today and we strongly suggest you check it out!
1250 Broadway Penthouse
New York, NY 10001