Despite the fact that Montreal and New York City (the two cities where I spend most of my time) are full of restaurants, I keep going back to the same places - over and over. Why? Because, when I find a good restaurant, I lose my courage to go out on a limb and try a new one. Why gamble?
I love Korean food. It's one of my favorite cuisines, provided it's made right. For this reason, and the one I explained above, I've dined at Bann Restaurant in Manhattan more times that I can count. It's the jackpot when it comes to great Korean food. From the fire pits built into the tabletops for great BBQ, to the very pleasant and relaxing happy hour bar, Bann is the place to go when in Midtown.
You really can't go wrong at Bann, but here is how I like to do it. I get there by 5, as the bar can get crowded during happy hour, especially Thursdays and Fridays. I begin at the bar with a $5 happy hour cocktail. I usually go for the prosecco or the red wine. An hour will easily slip by here, maybe two. It's always a friendly, quiet, and casual atmosphere.
Next, I move into the dining room for the main course. On occasion I will chose to sit at the "kitchen table" - a bar style table overlooking the kitchen. It's a unique experience and a good choice if you're dining alone. More often I take a proper table so that I can take advantage of the BBQ pit.
Everything on Bann's menu is good. I can easily and wholeheartedly recommend it all. However, I obviously have my favorites. Try the DAE JI JIM, or in English, the baby pork ribs with soy chili bbq glaze. They are simply to die for. I've dreamed about this plate. The SAE WOO, or bbq shrimp is also an excellent choice if you are a fan of shrimp. Barbecuing them in the pit at your table will not only be a novel and fun experience, but it will also slow down your dining experience to ensure that you enjoy every savory moment - as well as to not overtax your digestion. The SABAYON, or whipped banana custard dessert is a necessary evil - don't skip it. Oh, and I almost forgot. Don't skip the simple salad served prior to your main course. Yes, it's mere salad leaves and a little dressing, but simple can be deceptive. The dressing is beyond amazing. So good in fact, I often order a second helping.
Believe me when I tell you that you won't be disappointed with a visit to Bann. In fact, you will go again and again to the point where you will be wanting to send me a thank you card. So run on over to 350 West 50th and tell David I sent you! You can leave my thank you card with him.
Meals run between $30-50. Happy hour featured very decent $5 drinks and cocktails. Phone for reservations, which are recommended: 212-582-4446. www.bannrestaurant.com
PLEASE NOTE: I have no professional connection or financial stakes in Bann Restaurant or its affiliates.