As we did last year, our first dinner in NYC was the huge seafood hot pot at Sik Gaek restaurant! I remember the first time we were here like it was yesterday…oy the food was good!
It was a Tuesday night when we went. The restaurant wasn't packed but it was still quite full. Yes, that fridge is full of soju. Supposedly the yogurt soju is really good? I'm still a couple months shy of turning 21 so I didn't get to try any. :( Yes, I'm a chicken.
As we were seated, we were handed two menus--one in English, the other in Chinese. I'm not sure why but this surprised me. Right on the first page you'll find the hot pot section, which is exactly what you want. Yes, I'm telling you what you want.
You've probably noticed that whenever you go to a Korean restaurant, you'll get a variety of little nibbles to munch on. Here, they fry up some eggs too! Not too oily, I love how the egg white gets all crispy.
Spicy rice cakes was also served. Be careful not to load up on the nibbles because as you're about to see, the hot pot's HUGE. And because one of my friends isn't very fond of seafood (how to convert her? Hmmm...haha), it would just be three of us eating it. Yes, it was an AMBITIOUS undertaking.
We chose the seafood hot pot that has one live octopus + ribeye ($79.99). Our server promptly went over to the tank, plucked one of the octopi from the water and came over to show it to us. WHY?! He asked us how we like it. Umm...we had no clue so we went with his suggestion: chopped.
Since a photo doesn't do this dish justice, here's a little video I took. Yeah, that's the CHOPPED UP octopus still writhing on the plate...If you watched the NYC episode of The Layover, you'll already have known about this. Still, it was shocking! The flavour is very mellow, smooth. And to answer the question you're all asking, yes it's still moving in your mouth. The suckers latch onto the inside of your cheeks! It was insane!! I was giggling the entire time.
And there it is! Our seafood hotpot. Oh check out all of the goodies in there! And underneath, udon noodles slowly soaking up the broth. Liquid gold right there I say. ;)
Here's another photo of our personal Mount Everest that night...
What goes well with all of this seafood?! BEER. Honestly, the right kind of beer can go well with anything.
The kitchen is semi-open. For once, I didn't even think of looking in to see the action. There was just so much good food sitting in front of us!
SIK GEAK! haha I love their shirts! I didn't notice this last time. The reason why the two servers were huddled there and looking all secretive was because they were lighting up some candles for a birthday cake. For a few minutes, they switched from their kpop songs to "happy birthday" while all the servers gathered at the birthday girl's table and sang. They know how to have fun. :D
More beer?! Yes please. They nailed a bunch of bottle caps onto the bench by the front door. Clearly, these are just a fraction of the caps. Imagine if they kept them all!
Slowly, steadily, the three of us ate our way to the bottom of the pot. Note for future visits, eat the clams, conch, abalone, mussels (aka the shellfish) first before they get overcooked.
This is one of the side burners. The vibrant blue colour just caught my eye...it's the same material they burn for the buffet burners right?
Why yes that is the BOTTOM of the pan. We came, we ate, we conquered!!! I thought I was being strategic, wearing a summery dress to dinner. Unfortunately, I overlooked the fact that I was also wearing a belt--which cancels out the flowiness of the dress! Smart. At some point during the meal, I deftly slipped my belt off. Only did I put it back on after we finished eating. I can be so shameless sometimes.
They give you a bucket for all of the shells. So throughout the meal, you'll hear all of these clunks as shells are being dropped out of sight. Ooh that abalone was GOOD!!! I wish there was more than just one. Yep, the guys were being gentlemen and let me have the single abalone. :)
Just so that I have this for future reference, here's a super grainy photo of sik gaek's hours. Can you believe it, they're open til 4 in the morning!! :D
At the end of the night, we were one of about a handful of tables left. Imagine it packed (or check out the last photo in last year's post), and you've got yourself a LIVE night in Flushing, New York! ;)
Taking photos outside. It was hilarious. Imagine four people walking into a shop/diner/restaurant (yeah, this happened at every food stop we made), each one of them pulling out a camera and snapping pics.
Verdict: At sik gaek, it ain't hard to drink and eat to our heart's content. You're hear to have good, homey food and enjoy the great company of your friends. I won't go into more details, but trust me when I say that the service here is very attentive and after a hiccup, they apologized, followed up with a call and an email; really making up for it.
Check 'em out! http://www.sikgaekusa.com/
4.5 out of 5 NOMs