At this tiny Korean fast-food eatery in Flushing, the warning on the menu — “[takes] 10 to 15 minutes to cook” — says it all.
You won’t find anything fancy here — it’s almost all carb-loaded Korean comfort foods, like kimbop, noodles, fried rice and rice cake dishes. But the simple, home-style food is prepared with exceptional care, using fresh ingredients.
The kitchen is open, so we watched as our vegetable kimbop (Korean sushi rolls) was assembled on the spot. The carrots and greens, which had been lightly sautéed in sesame oil, were flavorful and crisp. The oozing, orange cheese, with its sweet flavor, went oddly well with the mildly fishy seaweed and the nutty, sesame oil-infused greens.
The fried rice omelette, a paper-thin egg omelette draped over a huge portion of vegetable fried rice, was satisfying, though a bit too oily. The fried rice was a mixture of diced carrot, onion, scallion, and mushroom — all clearly fresh, not frozen — sautéed in ample sesame oil.
The sweet, nutty sesame oil and savory egg were a fine pair, made all the better when we spooned on some of the intensely tangy ketchup that came on the side.
Unfortunately we were in a hurry, but other options on the menu — cold spicy-vinaigrette thick noodle with mixed vegetables, monetary (sic) jack cheese pork katsu cutlet, spicy squid kimbop, and spicy ramen with cheese — were beckoning.
We settled on a takeaway order of the spicy rice cake with ramen noodle. But when we arrived home several hours later, we were disappointed to find a mess of bloated, sauce-logged noodles and no sauce to speak of.
Still, the ribbons of cabbage, thick onion slices, and large pieces of scallion had remained nice and crunchy, while the cylindrical rice cakes had become exceptionally soft and flavorful — enhanced by all the gochujang-based (Korean red pepper paste) sauce they had absorbed.
From what we could taste of the sauce via the rice cakes and noodles that had absorbed it, we were impressed. Its flavor initially seemed simply sweet, but within moments, a spicy kick crept in.
It was a tasty enough mess to ensure that we’ll be heading back to try a fresh order of the noodles and rice cakes — perhaps this time with some monetary (sic) jack cheese thrown into the mix.
— By Anne Noyes Saini, City Spoonful