The other day, Tina and I went for a spontaneous dinner in the city. People have really started going out again post pandemic, and it is difficult to get a table at most of the nicer restaurants without a reservation. Since this was a last minute thing, and since we didn’t want to end up eating at McDonald’s, we spend the car ride calling around, and finally decided to go to Koreatown, where Take 31 said they could probably squeeze us in, if we arrived right after they opened.
Take is a modern Korean restaurant that my Korean friend April mentions in her guide to Korean restaurants in New York City, so I was happy to finally get to try it.
It did not take long before the staff had a table for us, and since we had been checking out the menu while waiting outside, we were ready to order our food right after we were seated. Take 31 are known for their modern, slushie-like versions of Makgeolli (Korean rice wine), so we ordered a big bottle of White Peach makgeolli to share. It was nice and smooth, but probably more suited as a dessert or a cocktail than as a meal beverage, so we ordered a bottle of Jinro is Back soju.
Along with our drinks, we were served a small portion of complimentary tteokbokki. You know how much I love tteokbokki, so it was a very nice surprise that was much appreciated.
The menu at Take 31 is a mix of modern and traditional Korean dishes. The people behind Take 31 are also running Her Name is Han next door, but Take 31 is somewhat more casual and with a slightly younger crowd. At Take 31, you can order different kinds of Korean hot pot, including Army Stew Budae Jjigae, which is made with a mix of Korean and American ingredients such as ham, spam, cheese, and sausages. Budae Jjigae was created in the years after the Korean war, when food was sparse, and American food supplies made their way out of the military bases, and over time, the stew has grown to become a beloved kind of Korean comfort food, eaten in the colder months. In recent years, Budae Jjigae has become trendy among young people, and in Seoul, you’ll find the stew on the menu at many modern Korean restaurants.
We were tempted to order the stew, but changed our minds last minute, and ordered the Cod Roe Seafood Udon and the Short Rib Chapaguri instead. We weren’t sure whether it would be enough food, so we also added the Crispy Corn Pancake, and ended up with more food than we could eat.
I really liked the Crispy Corn Pancake, which is also one of the dishes that Take 31 is known for. The other dishes were also nice, but a bit to the heavy side, and just one of them to share would have been enough.
Here’s a short video from our dinner at Take 31: