You say izakaya, I say tapas, you say tavern, I say…yup. Korean tavern to be exact. Actually, it’s a joo mak and the slightly more traditional sister restaurant to the lovely Danji uptown. It’s cozy, charming, and a great place to sip a cocktail and dine on small but masterful Korean plates. Share or horde, anything goes.
I’m a fan of Koreatown and the like but must say, sometimes it’s a nice change to have a place to go that’s a bit more modern, happening and with good music.
It’s bar food/ street food – a small menu but enough to satisfy anyone’s craving. Hanjan has an edge over what’s become the go-to-albeit-luscious-hipster Asian cuisine of hand pulled noodles and soy chicken. Here we’re talkin’ a radish kim chee & brisket fried rice mash up topped with a fried egg, excellent scallion pancakes with local squid, fresh killed chicken skewers (heart anyone?), piquant pork belly skewers, a snappy cod roe stew (one of my faves), and for the vegematic inclined, there’s also a royal trumpet mushroom/scallion skewer plus various root and leafy vegetable offerings.
Late night – well, after 10pm anyway, you’ll find ramen. A cache of gold at the end of the night’s rainbow…to accompany some soju, sake or one of their lovely cocktails. The broth of pork and chicken bones cooks all day and then a bowl of noodles for $16 is there to sate the weary traveler pausing for a rest at the local tavern. Or maybe a good carb rush before late night reveling.
And then there are the whimsical decor touches. The pottery, the bathroom walls…a wink and a whistle when you least expect it.
It’s a neighborhood gem as they say, it’s a destination, it’s fun, curious, comfortable and fortunately – really really good.
36 West 26th Street between Broadway/Sixth Avenue
They take a few reservations but mostly honor walk-ins.