Instead of sticking to the dishes of one cuisine, Chef B. Darius of Cuisine 16 chose to use his diverse set of cooking skills to make dishes from throughout the world. The resulting menu is a mix of the nation's signature plates, including the cumin-sprinkled meatballs of Morocco and the tilapia rubbed in Creole spices. Some of his dishes even blend the flavors of multiple cuisines. Fried chicken comes slathered in spicy Korean barbecue sauce, and bananas are replaced by plantains in the creamy plantains foster. Chef B. Darius welcomes guests to order a la carte to sample one favorite flavor or be order tapas so they can mix and match flavors without going on a weird game show.
At KBG, tender Korean barbecue is given a Tex-Mex presentation. Classic bulgogi, spicy pork, barbecue chicken, and house-made tofu can be packaged in a burrito or as tacos, such as the kimchi-sprinkled KBG-style trio. However, the restaurant's specialty is notably tortilla free: a rice bowl piled with meat and 11 kinds of vegetables, one for every chamber in the stomach.
Diners can also build their own bowls from the leafy greens up. A bed of romaine lettuce or red cabbage forms the foundation, followed by white, brown, or kimchi fried rice. Then it's the meat or tofu, and a cornucopia of sides and toppings, including fish cakes, pickled cucumber, and guacamole.
The Pho Zone invites diners to submerge chopsticks in piping-hot noodle soups and Vietnamese specialty rice dishes as they bask in the natural light of a floor-to-ceiling front window. Diners can wash down banh mi sandwiches or steamed pork dumplings with a shake infused with tropical staples such as mango, avocado, or the sweet pulp extracted from the center of a ukulele.
Green Symphony's chefs cull zesty ingredients to craft body-nourishing platters and Korean cuisine. Appetites arise from slumber with breakfast offerings such as organic oatmeal splashed with açai fruit purée. Sandwich sages construct breadstacks from South Asian–inspired tempeh, then top their creations with the finest blue, feta, or brie cheese found beyond Mickey Mouse's pantry. A hefty dessert menu gilds sweet teeth with pear-ginger bars and homemade muffins, and bodies find a healthy boost with juice blends including the Cleanser, in which cranberries, carrots, and beets canoodle with barley greens and aloe juice.
At Hanjoo, tradition crosses paths with modern innovation. The menu is filled with Korean classics, such as bibimbap, cold noodle soup, and?of course?barbecue. But the eatery is sleek, with exposed-brick walls, polished-wood banquettes, and a high-tech crystal cooktop on every grill. Behind this is an owner who's passionate about food, yet unafraid of trying something new.
About the Co-Owner: Felicia Park does not bat an eye at the suggestion that the restaurant business was her destiny. She grew up at her father's knee in the kitchen, always asking him, "What's in that?" At 18, she was finally allowed to work in his restaurant, first as a cashier and hostess, then in the kitchen, and finally as manager.
In 2005, she took over the original Han Joo location in Flushing, which was already known for its cold noodle soups. But Korean BBQ was in Felicia's blood, so she put it on the menu. "I was used to it," she says, "and I knew it was getting popular." So popular, in fact, that she and a partner opened the second location in St. Marks in 2012.
The Crystal Grill: While most Korean BBQ spots are equipped with metal or stone grills, Felicia heard that crystal grills were gaining popularity in Korea. So a few years ago, she ordered some for both Hanjoos. A novelty at the time, they inspired a slightly awestruck writeup from Serious Eats. But the flat, translucent surfaces are more than just a conversation piece: crystal is actually quite practical for grilling. For one, the food cooks at an angle, so that extra fat from pork belly or duck (Felicia's two favorites) runs off the into a tray. Meats also cook more evenly, without leaving BBQ residue.
Don't Miss: * Kimchi: Kimchi is Felicia's mother's specialty, and the kitchen borrows heavily from her recipe when crafting theirs. * Pork belly: On the grill, this is hands-down Felicia's favorite, although she names the duck a close second. * Mool neng-myun: This cold soup?as well as the other three on the menu?are among the eatery's specialties, according to Felicia. Read more about mool neng-myun on the Groupon Guide.