For those looking to experience authentic Korean kimchi at its finest, Muk Eun Ji is the place to go. This Midtown West restaurant has an extensive kimchi menu, and customers can sample a variety of different variations, including Kimchi Sundubu Jjigae (soft tofu and kimchi stew) and Muk Eun Ji Godeungeo Jjim (aged kimchi braised with mackerel), along with several other options. Customers can also experience an authentic Korean barbecue meal, where the food is cooked right on the dining table. Muk Eun Ji’s minimally-designed décor allows customers to focus on the vibrancy presented to them through brightly-colored ingredients, such as sliced vegetables, marinated meats and tasty Korean sauces, all delicately separated on clean, white dishes. The atmosphere is lively, and the condensed seating area encourages family-style dining.
The Cardinal, named after North Carolina’s state bird, serves the region’s signature style of barbecue while hewing to a simple philosophy: traditional recipes and quality ingredients. Using free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, heritage pork, and housemade sausage, bacon, and pickles, the soulful southerners serve classic Carolinian cuisine such as pork chops in red-eye gravy and blue-crab hush puppies. The house specialty—fried chicken marinated in brine and breaded with crispy cornflakes—earned The Cardinal a spot on the Village Voice's 10 Best Chicken Dishes list in 2012. The back-to-basics ethos extends to the decor, done up with whitewash, the restaurant's name in black paint over white bricks, and a stuffed turkey in mid-flight instead of standing at a ticket counter on a layover.
According to the New York Times, Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman have lately been some of the city’s busiest purveyors of barbecued meats. The duo brought the tastiest dishes from popular eatery The Smoke Joint to their newest venture, Little Brother BBQ in Clinton Hill. At this urban barbecue counter, they focus on doing what they do best: smoking natural cuts of chicken, beef, and pork before stacking them on sandwiches smothered in slaw. Along with these lunchtime feasts, the counter’s menu includes snacks such as a handmade pork sausage and a three-meat chili that the Times likens to “a hearty stew." Unlike some other barbecue joints, Little Brother also caters to vegetarians with meat-free sausages, collard greens, and drinkable portions of barbecue sauce.
Though the smells and sights might appear to be just like those at many barbecue places, Harlem BBQ Co takes a slightly different approach at the grill. Here the chefs specialize in ribs—which they slather in a choice of mild, hot, or spicy marinara sauce—and also focus on juicy rotisserie chicken. Each cut can be portioned out into smaller helpings or paired with sides such as collard greens and cinnamon-whipped sweet potatoes to create hearty meals fit for one or for a family. Corn muffins make a perfect tool for sopping up juices from each helping of meat, and also come with pats of cranberry butter. Slices of sweet potato pie are also on deck to add a balancing sweetness to each meal and to prove to friends that you're getting your daily allotment of vegetables.
Eight Mile Creek unfurls across two floors, transporting New York diners down under with an exotic spread of Australian pub-style cuisine and imported spirits. Splashed in the flickering glow of candlelight, bronze-tiled walls establish the restaurant's rustic feel, as guests browse menus stocked with grilled-kangaroo skewers, burgers, and elegant entrees such as racks of Aussie lamb. On the first floor, live music further inflates casual airs with energized tunes, and themed holiday parties offer visitors an alternative to stuffy office banquets and get-togethers with socially awkward snowmen. During summer months, Aussie beers and New Zealand wines accompany warm breezes on an outdoor patio, where a wooden deck and an exposed-brick walls combine to create a tranquil dining experience.
After 16 years in the business (and local fame for former establishments David's Chicken and William's BBQ), Eastside is truly a master of succulent flying feasts (every Thanksgiving the restaurant cooks about 300 turkeys). If you desire to depart chicken-strewn shores, sail on toward shoals dotted with grilled hot pastrami and corned beef ($14.99 per lb.), homemade brisket ($15.99 per lb.), filet mignon ($24.99 per lb.), and grilled or poached salmon ($18.99 per lb.). This deal is valid for takeout or delivery (call to see if you're covered by the delivery area if outside of the listed range).