Don’s Bogam is a block outside the smoky heart of Koreatown, which may be why it doesn’t come up a lot when hounds talk Korean barbecue. Lau suggests you cross Fifth Avenue and find out what you’ve been missing.
Don’s Bogam styles itself as a wine bar, and wine is part of the mix in its signature sam gyup sal pork belly (the marinade contains Cabernet Sauvignon). The result is delicious—the best in Manhattan, Lau says, though a rung below the awesome version at Tong Sam Gyup Gui in Queens. Kalbi (short rib) is also first-rate: tender, well seasoned, and just about the equal of Madangsui, a house specialty favored by hounds.
Beyond barbecue, Lau recommends daegu tang (cod soup) and haemul pajun (seafood pancake), crisp,
fresh, and nothing like the gooey, underdone mess served by many other restaurants. The setting is uncommonly sleek and modern for K-town, he adds, and the tabletop gas grills are ventilated so efficiently that you won’t leave smelling like barbecue.
Don’s Bogam [Koreatown]
17 E. 32nd Street (between Fifth and Madison avenues), Manhattan