Magazine article The New Yorker

Hanjan

Magazine article The New Yorker

Hanjan

Article excerpt

A menu that features chicken wings, braised pigs' feet, and barbecue might sound par for the course on a Flatiron block that's already home to Hill Country and the Hog Pit. But Hanjan serves down-home cuisine of a different variety, updating the rustic fare of the joomak, the traditional Korean tavern. Behind the wood-clad exterior, the chef, Hooni Kim, serves pub grub with a pedigree: before setting out on his own, Kim worked in the kitchens at Daniel and Masa, and his first restaurant, Danji, earned a Michelin star.

As folks might say at the Hog Pit, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Kim repeats Danji's winning formula here--small plates, small room, minimalist decor, menus tucked into drawers at your table. Hanjan saves most of its fifty seats for walk-ins, and by seven o'clock on a recent Monday night the bar at the front, the long communal table behind it, and the two banquettes lining the walls were already packed. But the wait passes quickly with friendly service and cocktails, like the addictive Korean Spice, a twist on a classic margarita, made with lime juice, chile-infused tequila, and agave, served in a glass rimmed with sea salt and red pepper flakes.

The menu opens with traditional dishes, notably a smoky, soy-glazed half mackerel and a radish-kimchi-and-brisket fried rice that's as silky as any risotto. …

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