THE RAPIDLY GROWING RESTAURANT GROUP OPENS ITS THIRD MANHATTAN LOCATION
Korean food has taken off big-time in New York City. And it’s expanded far beyond Korea Town, that stretch of West 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Nicknamed Korea Way, it’s a major tourist attraction and restaurant destination. Enter Charles Tiger Chong and his Barn Joo Restaurant Group and Koreatown is not the only game in town. Tiger Chong already proprietor of Barn Joo in Union Square and Midtown on West 35th St. has just expanded his empire to include Barn Joo Nomad at 28th Street 6th Avenue. And it’s a terrific place to eat and drink.
Barn Joo is a Korean Gastropub with a wildly inventive menu, great cocktails, and super service. Barn Joo is also the best of two worlds. It’s uniquely Korean-American. While traditional Korean seasoning inflects all its dishes, Westernized techniques and plating are the order of the day here. We let genial Manager, Louis Kim do the ordering for us. His selections were knock-outs We loved the Open Roll sampling a selection that included Uni in the Seonggaeal roll, Yellowtail in its eponymous roll, and in the one called Galbi there’s a beef short rib, Asian pear, cucumber, lemon aioli, microgreens, galbi, and eel sauces. These are served with a house-made bone marrow sauce, a special chef-created Soy sauce reduction, and pickled ginger chayote. They’re incredibly well-priced at $7 and $8. Or do your palate a great favor and order Open Roll Trio set—any 3 for just $20.
The rest of the menu is listed as “tapas-style”—every dish designed to share. Here you will find Barn Joo’s dedication to seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients. These incomparable dishes like the Silky Tofu (pictured) were a revelation to non-Tofu eaters that we are. And we found Tteok + Cheese a cultural mashup of ingredients as diverse as rice cake, sweet corn, fontina, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, green olives, and truffle essence topped with a focaccia breadstick. Barn Joo pays tribute to its new neighborhood in dishes like the Nomad Bite, Korean-influenced Beef Short Rib on a bed of sweet potato puree and vegetable medley, topped with herbs, aioli, and Chef’s dipping sauce. Then there’s Pasta Nomad Noir, black Squid-Ink Tagliatelle with stir-fried vegetables, five-cheese bechamel sauce, and spicy mussels, crab, and shrimp, and the Salad 28, mixed greens, watermelon radish, house-made olives, boiled eggs, tomato, slivered-almonds, blackberry, raspberry, apple, orange, toasted bread, and parmesan cheese, multigrain powder with Yuzu Sesame or Pomegranate Vinaigrette dressing. Every bite reminded us that Charles Tiger Chong was quoted as saying “We aim to make Barn Joo Nomad a place that welcomes all in the heart of the bustling neighborhood of Nomad. “With a strong cocktail program to compliment our cuisine, we created an approachable, yet quality-driven, dining experience.
The bar offers Draft and Bottled Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Korean Spirits, and Non-Alcoholic drinks. We ordered the Toasted Sesame Manhattan, an in-house sesame-washed Bourbon with sweet Vermouth, Drambuie, whiskey bitters, and Amarena cherry, pictured here without the cherry since I ate that up the minute the drink arrived.
The restaurant boasts an outdoor and indoor main-dining area and a second-floor private- dining area that seats 54; both floors offer full-service bars. Florals and vintage decor throughout the space reflect the building’s history as a former floral shop and the ceiling on the second floor is original to the cabaret theatre that occupied the space in the 1920s. Rope elements are also woven throughout the restaurant to represent and celebrate relationships formed and flourished through shared meals with one another. The restaurant is lined with exposed brick, incorporating rustic notes of iron and wood, but feels airy with windows that open up to the street and ventilate the space. Right now, in post-pandemic New York, there’s the obligatory outdoor dining area, placed on the relative quiet of 28th St. Do not miss this remarkable restaurant. It’s worth a trip from anywhere.
Barn Joo Nomad is located at 816 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10001. The restaurant is open for lunch from 12 pm-5 pm Monday – Saturday, and for dinner 5 pm – 10:00 pm Monday – Wednesday and 5 pm – 12 am Thursday – Saturday. Reservations can be made by calling 1.917.409.1637 or via the website at www.barnjoonomad.com.