I haven’t been satisfied with the Korean food in Manhattan lately (as you can see from my reviews of Pocha 32 and Arirang) so I asked my Korean friend Scott to help me out. I needed to rectify this situation! Similarly to how I feel about Chinese food, Scott feels about Korean food: the good stuff has left Manhattan. With the growing Korean population in the Little Neck/Great Neck area, it’s not that surprising to end up there, at San & Deul Restaurant 251-05 Northern Boulevard, Little Neck, NY 11363. With the golf range nearby and free parking behind the building, this place fills up with Korean men, can get quite smoky, and isn’t fancy in any way. It’s just the best Korean food Lon or I have ever tasted. (We don’t use “best” often.)

wood fire

As soon as you sit, every inch of the table is covered in panchan (small side plates) and condiments. They were all good but the most memorable were marinated spinach, garlicky bok choy, and great kimchi. For me, kimchi can make or break a meal. I like to eat it with most bites of the barbecue meat and in between everything else, so it can add a freshness and happy kick to the whole meal, or drag a meal into a musty low. Here they offer a richly flavored kimchi and a lighter and sweeter un-fermented kimchi. Both are great!

onions and pepper  2 spicy mini fish
might be burdock spinach
bean sauce, pepper and garlic konyaku
pork belly and spicy vegetables sizzling eggs
Spicy Zucchini Soup unfermented kimchi

The raw cured crab (also a panchan offering) is so interesting, with a similar texture to cured salmon/lox. It becomes soft, slightly sticky, and gelatinous, totally unlike flaky cooked crab meat.

cured crab

One major difference you’ll notice immediately is that they cook the meat over a wood burning grill embedded in your table. Next, you’ll see the most beautifully marbled kalbi (beef short rib), making it extra tender. Everyone eats it a little differently but my favorite is rolling the red rice, kalbi, and kimchi into lettuce. You can’t help but keep going and going. Good thing we had two orders.

Kalbi BBQ 4

The Fried Mandoo is filled more than most. (I generally think Korean dumplings seem kind of empty.)

fried mandoo 2

The Clam soup is so purely clam, a refreshing simplicity in a mostly strongly flavored meal.

clam soup

Despite not needing any more food, Scott and Angie wanted us to try the pork belly with kimchi. They changed the set-up to a different grill pan and start the pork belly first.

pork belly just on grill pan

After the pork fat starts melting, they cut up the pork and add the un-fermented kimchi. The pork gets crisped brown spots while the flavorful fat seeps into the kimchi.

cutting pork belly over grill 5

Little dishes of sesame oil with salt and pepper are given to dip the pork into.

sesame sauce

As we slowed down, we all realized how full we were, but couldn’t resist trying to stuff a few more bites in. It was so delicious and deeply satisfying. Meals here will be about $25 per person, stuffed beyond normal gorging, and well worth a trip out of the city. Who’s coming with me next time?

posted by jessica at 12:07 AM Filed under Asian, Favorites, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.