Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Biggest Food Coma: Woorijip

Lincoln Center. Upper West Side.

Russian Tea Room. Theater District.

Radio City Music Hall. Theater District.

Woorijip. Murray Hill.

It's 10 p.m: Do you know where your children are?

I don't, but I can tell you where my stomach is!

At Woorijip, where you can stock up on your fill of cheap and tasty buffet-style Korean food.

Above, clockwise from top: Kimchi, zucchini pajun (pancake), kimchi pajun, kimchi fried rice (gotta have my kimchi intake), egg roll with sauce, ddukbokki (spicy rice cake), rolled omelet, zaru soba, bok choy with shiitake mushrooms, fish.

I swished it down with Pomegranate Blue Honest Ade Tea, an organic thirst quencher that adds just a hint of sweetness without all of that artificial gunk.

It looks like a lot of food, but surprisingly it all went down without so much as a burp. I'm an animal.

Sticky nubs of rice awash in kochujang.

My sister [who asked me to take down that picture of her food coma] thoroughly enjoyed her share of hot Korean food. Promptly after the meal, she sat slumped down in a daze and refused to move. Methinks she had a rather severe bout of food coma. Woorijip's homestyle Korean food is so good that it makes you want to stay there forever listening to the jazzy jams of Clazziquai filtering through the restaurant. (Our friend Sarah is over there in the blue, checking out the desserts).

Get a plate to go! Woorijip also has a wide selection of foreign sake, soju and beers. I was entranced by all the shimmering colors and intricate bottle of which resembled a stout perfume bottle, dressed up in pink. But it was sake. Go figure. Also on hand: Fizzy lemonades in blood orange and grapefruit flavors, $1 cups of citron tea, kimbap-in-a-box, red bean desserts.

It's fun to people-watch here. There's your pick of lanky Korean power couples dressed in coordinating swanky threads, hipster club kids, dress shirt-clad working people clinking Heinekens out of paper cups and, of course, the tourists who linger at the buffet for 20 minutes agonizing over what to get (AKA confused about what's on the menu).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Pancakes were a bit on the mushy/soft side and could've used some crisping up, but I do appreciate how Woorijip keeps their dishes considerably reduced on the grease-o-meter. Even after I consumed the egg roll, I didn't automatically feel like I was sweating oil. The tender, salted fish (I wish I knew what kind it was) was the highlight of my night, along with the solid kimchi fried rice. The only thing missing was an egg on top!

12 W. 32nd St
New York, NY 10001