Hanjan

36 W 26th St. New York, NY 10010 • (212) 206-7226hanjan26.com

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This is Korean for the other half. The half that can’t be bothered with the manual labor of having to BBQ their food themselves. The half that likes a little ambiance and inventiveness. The half that doesn’t want a hybrid Mexican version of Korean sold off a truck. In other words, my half.

Sure there’s a time and a place for that kind of Korean, but it’s nice to see a cuisine extend itself into a more refined experience. Not that Hanjan is fancy by any stretch, but compared to the typical Korean haunts in the 30’s, it’s Per Se.

To start, I went with the spicy margarita because, as we know, I loves me a spicy cocktail. And while it’s certainly not bad, it’s nothing special either. Basically just a regular margarita dipped in chili powder as opposed to salt (cue Debbie Downer music).

As for food, we started with the crudité and while good, one can only get so excited about veggies on ice, which sounds like the worst theatrical ice skating show in history. But the sauce they serve it with has some serious kick, so if you’re into heat and freshly chilled plants, go for it.

Next came the squid and scallion pancake, which is more inventive than it is awesome. Only truly reaching its potential when you caught a hot pepper from the sauce it was served with, which was only about two bites in ten.

The short rib with stewed potatoes and onions came next and it was easily the best thing of the night. Fall off the bone moist. Bursting with flavor. I loved it so much I wanted to crawl into the bowl and spoon it.

Being that the short rib was a tough act to follow, the pork belly skewers, fell short. Not terrible or anything, but I wouldn’t order them again. That said, if you choose to get them, make a mental note that they are MUCH better without the recommended lettuce wrap.

And batting clean up was the brisket fried rice. It was good, but sounds much better than it is. The egg on top gets lost pretty quickly in the morass of other ingredients. As does the brisket. Again, glad I tried it, not something I would order again.

That said, I would definitely eat here again. Service was great and not one thing was bad. Plus, there are a ton of other things on the menu I wanted to try, so stay tuned for updates.

3 teeth