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Right in the heart of K-town, Don’s Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar offers traditional Korean cuisine in a non-traditional setting. The contemporary design suggests a wine bar when you first walk in, but the back room features large tables with center BBQ pits for for cooking your own meats, seafood and vegetables. Luckily, the tables also have good exhaust systems, so the area never gets smoky or too warm.

For appetizers, start with with Kimchi Pajeon, traditional Korean pancakes. They’re light, with a hint of spice and really flavorful. Jap Chae, glass noodles sauteed with vegetables, big chunks of fresh mushrooms, slivers of carrot, scallions and a slightly sweet sauce is another stand-out dish.

Like most Korean restaurants, they serve Banchan (반찬), which are like a Korean amuse bouche or small dishes of food. The Banchun includes:

- Baechu Kimchi: traditional fermented napa cabbage seasoned with chili peppers and salt.

- Ojingeochae bokkeum (오징어채볶음): addictive stir-fried dried squid in a chili pepper sauce

- Miyeok muchim (미역무침): delicious seaweed with sweet vinegar and salt

- Kongnamul (콩나물): cold bean sprouts in sesame oil

- Korean-style potato salad (감자 샐러드): potatoes and apples in an almost yogurt dressing. A surprising dish that proves its value later on in the meal, when you start eating more spicy dishes. It’s a refreshing and a cooling savior.

The barbecue meats are what bring in the crowds. Chadol Baki (차돌박이), is thinly sliced beef brisket and Galbi (갈비), marinated de-boned beef short ribs (generally marinated in a sauce that contains soy sauce, water, garlic, sugar, and sliced onions). Both are served with lettuce leaves to wrap the beef, as well as a Pajori, a spicy scallion salad and Ssamjang, a spicy paste.

The thinly sliced beef brisket is best not wrapped in the lettuce leaves, but just quickly dipped in the sauces straight off the grill. It is sliced so thinly, it only takes seconds to cook on the hot BBQ. The Galbi is a thicker preparation of beef, holds the marinade well, and comes out juicy and tender. Dipped in the sauces, wrapped in a lettuce leaf with scallions, it’s like a little Korean taco two-bite portion.

You many also want to try the Dolsot-bibimbap. It’s a rice dish with a variety of toppings to choose from like grilled sliced eel. The bibimbap is served in a hot stone bowl and continues to cook the rice while you’re eating it, creating a nice crust similar to the socarrat of a paella. The eel has a sweet, marinated flavor and comes with a spicy sauce to pour over the fish. It’s really delicious.

The Doenjang-jjigae (된장 찌개) is another traditional stew-like dish made with doenjang, Korean soybean paste. It’s filled with seafood, with the clam still in the shell, tofu, and mushrooms. It’s a spicy, warming, and comforting dish. It is regarded as a dish of the commoners in Korea. On a cold winter evening, this dish would take the chill off.

While Don’s Bogam calls itself a wine bar, they also offer the traditional Korean cucumber-infused Soju. It’s the Korean equivalent of the Japanese shochu, so it is like a Korean vodka, made from distilled rice. It is served in a bottle packed with thinly sliced cucumbers. It’s an excellent pairing with the BBQ beef, especially the wrapped Galbi.

Don Bogam’s is right in the center of New York’s Korea town, and has a mostly Korean clientele. The large size of the tables, along with theatrics of cooking your food, make it a fun outing with friends or family. The prices are reasonable and with their fairly extensive menu, there are enough choices to lure you back again and again.

Korean BBQ

Korea Town

17 East 32nd Street

New York, NY 10016 (view map)

T: 212.683.2200




Daily: 12pm - 12am


For more about Don’s Bogam BBQ and Wine Bar, watch the slide show.