The Atrium Cafe's eclectic menu, described as "unpretentious, home-style cuisine" by New York Magazine, pairs light European fare with authentic Greek favorites in an airy oasis nestled in the heart of Midtown. Diners can snack on an appetizer of grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs and accompanied with yogurt for double dipping ($11), or carve a neoclassical relief into a block of feta using the sharp corners of pita and the buffing ability of olives ($6). The spanakopita's enthusiastic spinach, feta, and dill yearn to burst through the buttery layers of their flakey puff-pastry abode and onto tongues ($12.50), while grilled seven-grain bread catches ham and cheese in a friendly embrace as mesclun greens ($15) look on with envy. Alternatively, bury forks in fuller vegetable servings such as a traditional greek salad, filled with peppers, olives, feta, and chicken ($15). Guests find beverage soulmates for their lunches in one of many house wines or nonalcoholic beverages.
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.