Scores: 1 M*/ 1 NYT
Despite its tagline of the “city that never sleeps”, there are not many quality restaurants that take orders late in New York (although there are still much more than in London.) After attending the theatre about a year ago we ended up in Danji, a modern Korean restaurant at 52nd between 8th and 9th. I enjoyed this meal a lot and due to a lack of good Korean food in London I decided to go again. We decided to do this on the first night of our trip, we managed to stay up and fight through the jet lag in order to go out rather than go to bed when we got to our hotel at 20.30. This proved to be a good idea and we enjoyed dinner apart from a few zone out moments.
Danji does not take reservations and on a Tuesday night at about 9.30 was over half full, we managed to get the last table for two so did not have to sit at the communal bar style seats. The menu is designed for sharing and it is split into 2 sections, one for modern dishes and one for traditional ones, we ordered some dishes from both. The menus are not handed to you but they must be retrieved from drawers in the table which is a slightly unusual touch.
Poached sablefish with spicy daikon ($18) featured very well cooked sablefish (also commonly sold as black cod) that had a lovely buttery flavour and came with a sweet soy sauce. The radish cake that accompanied it was good with a sour flavour but there was too much of this. A portion of eun-dae-gu jjo-rim: garlic honey wings with sesame seeds ($12) were deep fried until very crispy and were coated with a sticky sweet honey sauce that had a good flavour from the garlic and sesame. These were pretty good but were perhaps a bit too ‘dirty’ to have more than a couple of; they would probably be a good hangover food. Dak twi-gim: spicy yellowtail sashimi ($15) featured Tsukiji market Hamachi, with cho jang and jalapeño, and had the now classic combination of flavours from the meaty fish and a spicy sweet and sourness from the sauce.
Crispy calamari with wasabi mayo ($10) was some well fried long island squid and the wasabi mayo was exemplary, having plenty of bite. Bulgogi beef sliders ($12) with spicy pickled cucumber & scallion salsa came as two packed sliders, the beef here was perfectly soft and had a real depth of Korean flavour- the garlic, ginger and sesame really came through.
This is a laid back restaurant; casual with friendly staff and decent cocktails. This in addition to the tasty food makes it a great destination not far from theatre land in New York.