NYC! Day 1: Sik Gaek Korean Cuisine


Seafood Hotpot: yes that's an entire lobster. live.
What? Sik Gaek Korean Cuisine B.B.Q & Seafood Grill
Where? 161-29 Crocheron Ave (Flushing, Queens, New York)
Price? $20-$40
Skinny: A Korean restaurant where you’ll have a culinary experience like no other. You may have heard of this lively place from the time David Chang took Anthony Bourdain here. :D Think giant seafood platters, live octopus, and an amazing atmosphere!

So here comes our first official stop in our NYC food road trip. :) One of the guys, Christian, is Korean and suggested this place as he’s been to it in the past and had an amazing experience. 

Good thing we rented a car as it made the commute a lot easier (we were still stuck in Manhattan traffic for a bit). Arriving early, we decided to pick up some beer for the present (well, the guys at least haha) and a couple of small watermelons for later to experiment with (aka vodka watermelon). 

We met up with a friend of Christian and his family so we were 7 for dinner. I was worried about space but that proved to be a moot point as the crowd actually comes in the late evening. We did get great spots though! :D

Before we even got our water, two servers came over and cracked some eggs in a couple of pans before us…I like how they think! 

Then came all the side dishes such as spicy rice cakes and steamed egg soufflé(?).

As I mentioned, this restaurant is known for its hotpot. What my friend had last time was kimchi rice that was made from the remaining hotpot broth. We tried to order that but the server misunderstood and just gave us an order of regular Kimchi Fried Rice ($10.99). The rice was really yummy. For the price though, I expected a little more in terms of quantity…

Next came the BBQ Pork Belly. Good. I love how it came sizzling on the cast iron pan! Ooh music to my ears. :) It was flavourful but I wasn’t used to the thinner slices of pork belly. And for $21.99, I’m really not sure if it was worth that much. 

Yes. Time for the main event. Unfortunately, it’s octopus spawning season so we couldn’t order the “live octopus.” Instead, we went for the Seafood Hotpot ($79.99). Oh how glorious it looks!
Huge hotpot; I'd eyeball it to be around 24" in diameter. :D:D so much eating ahead of us!

Everything was fresh, raw, sitting in the kimchi broth. Mmmm!! Slowly, the delicious contents were cooked over the flame. There was so much seafood! And underneath were udon noodles. They soaked up all the broth and everything just comes together it was an explosion of “YAYY!!” The spiciness of the broth gave the entire pot a great bang.
Our server came over to "dismantle" the lobster...a rather in-your-face experience haha

Seafood? I’m talking razor clams, conch, mussels, lobster, baby octopus, clams, shrimp, squid, crab…you get your bucks worth for sure! With all that shellfish, you’d think that the discards would be piled high on the table. Nope, they thought of that and provided us with large buckets. By the end of it all, we were happy and satisfied. :D 

Cucumber juice: a nice “palette cleanser” or to douse the flames if you were brave enough to drink the remaining broth straight. The we didn’t do too much damage considering there were 7 of us (well 6 adults and one super cute baby :D).  

All in all, this was an awesome start to the trip. The atmosphere was very communal (all the sharing, long communal benches), relaxed, lively and just plain fun. I can't wait for what's to come!
When we left around 9pm, the restaurant was full and there was a queue! Check out the stools! Low-key, great food.

Verdict? Hands down you gotta come for the hotpot! I’m still really interested in getting the broth-kimchi rice dish so let me know if you’ve had it! Pork belly, not worth it, save your money. Back to the seafood; everything was juicy, fresh, and rather sizeable. They didn’t skimp out. :D

4.5 out of 5 NOMs

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