In the backyard of a friend's bar in 2008, AsiaDog cofounders Mel and Steve started testing the culinary limits of the hot dog. They wanted to give the street-food staple a twist that could not be found inside any pushcart. That twist came in the form of ingredients that were a mainstay of their mixed Asian backgrounds. The spicy zing of kimchi. The crisp crunch of daikon. The delicate saltiness of seaweed flakes.
These experiments ultimately gave rise to AsiaDog, a casual eatery that infuses hot dogs and sandwiches with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese flavors. Using beef, organic beef, chicken, or veggie hot dogs as the foundation, the staff piles on toppings such as Chinese-style barbecue pork belly, crushed potato chips, and Japanese curry. They also encase corn dogs in panko breading or kimchi pancake batter, making each hot dog extra comfortable before it’s eaten.
Making international cuisine accessible to everyone requires a willingness to adapt recipes without sacrificing distinctive flavors. Kori Tribeca aims to transplant the foods of Seoul to Manhattan, and the New York Times praised its success in creating a menu that is "up-to-date and appealing to Americans but tied to Korean traditions."
Not only do iconic ingredients such as kimchi and Korean-style short ribs populate the menu but the pages also feature authentic cooking techniques. Bibimbap—a mixture of rice, sautéed vegetables, and proteins including pork belly, grilled eel, or organic tofu—arrives at tables in a sizzling stone bowl that continues to cook the dish tableside while diners enjoy the sounds and aromas.
The dining room takes a similar approach, melding small yet prominent aspects of Korean culture into a thoroughly modern setting. A handful of Korean musical instruments and three panels of Eastern Asian artwork adorn the walls. These accents add a distinctive character to the room's otherwise sleek combination of white brick work and black high-backed booth seating.
Fat Buddha lures revelers in with regular drink specials and anchors them in place by filling their stomachs with dishes from a mouthwatering, Asian-inspired menu. Amid an intimate bar setting, friends gather around tables to savor a sampling of small plates, including bacon-wrapped shrimp with sweet and sour sauce ($8), flank-steak skewers ($8), and bulgogi korean barbecue with gochujang sauce ($12). Large dishes of pan-seared duck ($12) delight dinner-minded epicureans, and an entrée of black cod with a sweet miso glaze ($12) swirls taste buds in a sharkless sea of flavor. Side dishes, such as pork and shrimp shumai dumplings ($6), spicy kimchi ($3), and chili-pepper fries ($4) join forces to create meals with variety, much like eating directly from a piñata.
For lunch, design your own dish with a yakiniku grilling set. Try the U.S. Kobe beef set ($22), which includes 3.5-ounce portions of both Harami skirt steak and chuck rib. For non-grillers, the garlic-noodles bowl (from $8) or hot-stone-pot bibimbap (from $8) side well with an order of Kurosawa cold sake ($9). The dinner menu includes everything from grilled veggies such as fresh asparagus ($5), broccoli ($4), or garlic button mushrooms ($4) to spicy Chilean sea bass ($15). Noodle dishes including goma negi ramen or udon ($9) and chicken garlic noodles ($10) round out the menu. For dessert, save room for dorayaki ice cream ($6), in which ice cream is sandwiched between two fluffy pancakes. View complete menus for the Midtown and the East Village locations here.