Earlier this week, my partner and I went over to Korean town on 32nd Street for dinner. We made our way to Arang, a Korean-Japanese fusion restaurant, located on the 2nd Floor at 9 W 32nd St.
The restaurant had a very nice and comfy atmosphere, with lots of dark wooden decor and some decorative art on the walls. There were wooden tables, chairs, and long benches. The dining area is dimly lit and had a nice relaxing homey feel.
We went there around 6:30pm for dinner. There were a few other diners at that time and it was pleasant and quiet. We skimmed through the menu but couldn’t decide on what dishes to order. Usually we would order dishes like bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), jap chae (glass noodles), or pajeon (pancake). Instead, we decided to be adventurous and let the restaurant proprietor pick out a few dishes for us. We told her that we have no food allergies and that we’d eat anything. We have no problem with hot and spicy foods either.
While we waited, the waiters brought out the banchan. One thing I really like about going out to Korean restaurants is the free banchan. They brought out four – kimchee, pickled veggies, and potato salad. The potato salad was very tasty. My partner was especially fond of the potato salad.
I ordered a bottle of OB beer. It is light, has a very mild flavor and goes great with Korean food.
The sushi chef made one of their specialty rolls for us. This one had shrimp tempura with a sweet soy sauce based glaze and a drizzle of spicy mayo. It was very appetizing and spicy mayo is my buddy.
Arang has a nice selection of specialty rolls that range from $10 to $15. During their happy hour, Sunday through Thursday from 4pm-8pm, all their specialty rolls are 25% off and they have some other sushi specials as well.
When the next dish arrived at our table, all I could think of was wow. I should note that the dish is actually much larger than pictured. Here is Kimchee jaeyook ddukboki boki with cheese. This dish features sauteed spicy pork, tasty kimchee, and rice cakes topped with melted mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
I’ve had spicy rice cakes before, but never this massive, mixed with kimchee, pork, and topped with all that cheese. The restaurant proprietor told us that this dish is one of their most popular dishes. It is “the dish” to order here.
I really enjoyed this dish. It was really tasty. Everything just went so well together. I’m a big fan of rice cakes and spicy foods. The spiciness was not weak and wasn’t overpowering either. It was just very fun to eat. This dish is good for 2+ people. During lunch hours, this dish is $19.95 and served with a caviar and sesame leaf rice. For dinner, it costs $25 and is not served with the rice dish.
The other dish was the Ddookbaegi bulgogi. This dish features thinly sliced marinated rib eye along with rice cakes and yam noodles in a sweet and savory soup. This dish is $15 and only available for dinner. Marinated bulgogi beef is always delicious, but the soup was exceptional and tasted great with over rice.
The highlight of the dinner was definitely the Kimchee jaeyook ddukboki boki with cheese. I think this dish makes a good bar food. These spicy rice cakes would pair well with beer and liquor. Also, its serving size makes it perfect for sharing. We were quite impressed with ourselves.
Roar, we were so full! We packed up the rest to go. The spicy rice cakes and bulgogi beef soup made great leftovers.
It was a fun early evening at Arang. We had a delectable dinner and left the restaurant totally stuffed, carrying a bag of leftovers. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and good service. The waiters seem a bit shy, but friendly at least. The arrangement of the dining area makes it a nice spot for groups of small to large sizes. It looks like a great place for a social get-together, to grab some grub and drinks, or an after work gathering, with those happy hour specials.
I would probably come back to check out their happy hour specials. Also, since their lunch specials run until 6pm, I would consider stopping by for a late lunch/early dinner. The dinner menu is a bit more extensive but also more pricey. With so many other options around the area, I’m not sure if this would be top pick for dinner – unless I was in the mood for those spicy rice cakes, then Arang would be the place to go. Also, they are open super late, which makes it a nice potential spot to wander to for some comfort food after a long night.