Not by any foresight I found myself within vicinity to try Arang, an all you can eat Korean buffet I first saw mentioned in a TimeOutNY budget article. Located above KunJip I had walked by before but was too afraid of what a $10 buffet might look like. I was worried over nothing.
Arang was a pleasant surprise. Not gourmet by any measure, Arang offers a modest buffet spread in a clean and pleasant environment. The interior is Asian rustic, bright from the wall-to-wall windows up front. It's a real sit-down restaurant, not a cafeteria and although most partake of the buffet, there is a menu of ala carte options to order.
The buffet choices include:
-- a couple light soups including miso
-- a basic green salad
-- a limited selection of sushi, many with fake crab meat
-- banchan: kimchee, bean sprouts, spinach, Korean style bok choy, etc
-- Korean staples: bulgogi, ddukboki, squid boki, spicy pork, japchae, etc.
-- a couple Chinese-type dishes: sweet&sour something, mussels in a goopy sauce
-- a couple Japanese dishes: tempura, soba noodles
-- dessert-y palate cleansers: melon and jello
Nothing was really stellar but everything was edible and relatively fresh tasting and filling. The vegetables/banchan especially were surprisingly fresh and well-spiced, and a meal can be made just from them. I especially enjoyed the spicy pork and a sliced egg omelette.
I recommend this place based on value. Lunch is a modest $9.99, dinner is $12.99. You definitely get your money's worth. (For comparison in the neighborhood, you can get an AuBonPain sandwich and beverage for the same money.) It's not a destination, but if you find yourself nearby it's a good lunch option and worth a try.
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