Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday Night: Hanjan

Towards the end of  one year, my friends thought that we weren't hanging out enough. It's true, we weren't. So they started Tuesday night get-togethers. Every Tuesday, we'll pick a bar to drink, eat, and hang out for a couple of hours. Whoever can make it will attend. If you're busy, it's okay. There's always next week. So this is Tuesday Nights on Tasty Eating where you will find bars that serve food and how we like them.

On this recent Tuesday Night, we headed out to: Hanjan
When I heard that Chef Hooni Kim was opening another restaurant, I was very excited. I had been to Danji and enjoyed it very much. His take on traditional and modern Korean food wowed my palate. I was excited to see what else he could do.
We went on a cold Tuesday night. Although they wouldn't seat us until the whole party was there (understandable) we didn't have any issues for 4 people at 7pm. We sat at the picnic tables that lined the middle. More traditional tables and seats blanketed the sides. We warmed up with our cold drinks (ha!) and ordered away. The waitress told us that the plates are small and meant to be shared. Perfect for what we were looking for. And so we started the night with the Kimchee Duo ($5). One side was the traditional kimchee made with cabbage. The other was radish. Both refreshing and not overly spicy.
Next the BBQ Galbi ($10) and the Pork Belly ($10) skewers. Each were succulent, juicy, and very flavorful. I enjoyed the slight char on the meat while it remained tender. The flavor was good on its own and I didn't need the accompanying ssamjang sauce, roasted garlic, nor scallions. We did wrap it in the lettuce leaf though.
Next we had the Pork Fat Ddukbokki ($12) which were rice cakes and fish cakes in a spicy sauce. This dish wasn't overly spicy. In fact, it was mellow and slowly heated my mouth. I prefer this over a slap your face spice. A soft boiled egg graced the edge of the dish. I was all over that. I love my eggs.
The Fresh Killed Chicken Wings ($12) were excellent. The soy sake marinade was something special. I liked how many of the dishes weren't spicy but yet very flavorful. The sweet savory sauce on the chicken was addicting. The wings were cooked well meaning still juicy and plump. The accompanying pickles weren't necessary for this dish though we ate them along with some of the spicier ones.
The Scallion Pancake with Squid ($12) was prepared in a way I've never seen before. It's usually flat just like a pancake but this version was more like tempura. You can clearly identify the scallions and squid. The batter was light and crispy. I wish the squid was cut into smaller strips to the size of the scallions. If would have been easier to eat. Instead, I had bites of just squid and just scallions. However, the flavor and frying was spot on.
And last dish was the Radish, Kimchee, and Brisket Fried Rice ($16) which came with a bit of a wait. The pacing of this dish was a bit off from the rest of the meal but nothing to cry over. I still had a lot of raspberry soju to kill at this point. But once it arrived, it smelled glorious. It was served on a hot plate still sizzling away to create a crust on the bottom. We mixed up the egg into the rice and dug in. Mmmm, this was a very good last dish. Hearty, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, warm, and crunchy. This is what you want to eat when it's cold out.
It was no surprise that Hanjan served good food with Chef Hooni Kim at the helm. Similar to Danji, he offers both traditional and modern Korean fare with a refined touch. I would gladly go back anytime. And next time, I'll say hi!

Hanjan
36 W 26th Street

New York, 10010
(212) 206-7226
hanjan26.com

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