If you know Korean parents, you know that when there’s a Korean person who makes it big e.g. Hines Ward (wide receiver for Pittsburgh Steelers), David Choe (Facebook graffiti artist), David Chang (owner Momofuku), Do Won Chang (Founder Forever 21) just to name a few, you know that your parents are going to talk about them incessantly. My father has been talking about Hooni Kim since last winter. Hooni was a former medical school student who took a year off and went to culinary school. He worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York like Daniel and Masa. His small plates Korean restaurant, Danji has received a Michelin star in less than a year. I think what attracts New Yorkers to this restaurant is the mix of modern and traditional Korean dishes in an intimate modern setting.
I knew that bringing my parents to a small plates Korean restaurant was going to be stressful. They would give their 2 cents about how the food isn’t as good as my mom’s cooking. They don’t understand the concept of small portions and waiting on line to eat at a restaurant is absurd. We got there at 5:10 PM 20 minutes before the restaurant opened and there were already 2 groups ahead of us-bad sign. Luckily, we just made it and got spots at the bar which I actually prefer but again, my parents thought this was odd. Before dining here like any restaurant, I read and cross-reference many restaurant reviews like the NY Times, NY Mag, and Time Out NY. The 4 of us shared everything off the traditional menu and 2 things off the modern menu. These were the standout dishes that even my parents were in awe over: Tofu with ginger scallion dressing, wild mushroom ‘jook’, poached sablefish with spicy daikon, and ‘danji’ braised short ribs. The kimchi bacon chorizo ‘paella’ was the best choice for a lot of reviewers but for Koreans, it’s basically kimchi fried rice. My parents laughed when it came out. If this place impressed my hard-to-please parents, you know the food is legit.