Friday, January 20, 2006

A Night in Koreatown

what could be more fun than a nght out with two kindred artistic souls in the heart of koreatown, nyc...

koreatown (or k-town, as it is often called) clusters around the 34th street area between fifth and park avenues with the "main" streets being 32nd, 33rd, and 35th. we met at a country style korean restaurant known as Cho Dang Gol inhabited by a lively and animated korean clientele, beautiful people, and i felt like an extra in a glamorous korean soap opera...

to quote one of the reviews:
Elegant and Earthy Korean food
Cho Dang Gol is not your typical new york korean restaurant. There is an elegance and artfulness to the food. It is "country style" food. Their tofu dishes are wonderful, and you can really taste that their tofu is superior. They have the best rice, which doesn't sound like a big deal, but you notice it, and it comes in a hot stone pot, which you can request them to pour hot tea in and you have a nice treat waiting at the end of your meal. This restaurant puts care into their food. Highly recommeded. They have soul.
inside the restaurant, you feel as though you have been transported to korea through some magical spacewarp. the countryside atmosphere dominates, and the walls are decorated with ancient traditional korean musical instruments. all around korean words are bouncing around in music-like bursts, passionate and engaged in the moment of friday nightlife...

my two korean companions, a painter and a composer, were introducing me to this restaurant, and in fact i was a guest of the painter who had recently opened a new exhibition at the june taylor gallery in soho. the two had been friends for several years and i was introduced to the painter by the composer...

our conversation was wide-ranging: seoul (the new city and old city), the difficulties of maintaining a career in the arts... i was interested in pursuing the elements of the painter's spiritual qualities as manifest in her work, and her approach to painting. i was not surprised to discover that that she actually painted her works quickly, but that each work goes through considerable gestation of the idea and the means to implement the images and texture, to discover the painting through a deep personal questioning...

the meal was a feast of indigineous tastes with assorted kimchi, and small fried korean pancakes each with a special texture and taste as appetizers, and then a special caserole cooked at the table that included pork, squid, tofu, scallions, and assorted vegetables, simmered with care and served with fresh leaves of lettuce, sesame, and steamed cabbage. you picked small portions from the cassarole dish and wrapped them in the various leaves, including bits of sauce and kimchi seasoning... no need to hurry...creatively indulge yourself in so many variations, like etudes for the taste buds...

i learned that koreans like to engage in a moveable feast as we left Cho Dang Gol for a popular k-town dessert and beverage place on 32nd street, walking along 6th avenue, i was energized by the cosmopolitan atmosphere of new york city and this burgeoning area of little korea...

1 comment:

Jungmin said...

I've been there when I was in NY, it looks exaclty same although the time passed by,,,