8St Kitchen Brings K-Town Downtown
With the notable exception of Otto, I've never found anything good to eat on West 8th Street. (Nor have I ever purchased any shoes, boots, or water pipes there, for that matter.) So I was pleasantly surprised by 8St Kitchen, a newish spot on this Village strip that bills itself as a small plate dining bar.
Yook hoe moo chim ($8), or wagyu tartare, is daintier than its K-town counterparts. The puck of premium beef rests atop chopped kket nip, or wild sesame leaves. After mixing the whole lot up, I found the combination of meltingly tender ribbons of wagyu and piquant wild sesame quite delicious.
Hae mool pa jon ($8), or scallion pancake with shellfish and squid, was tasty and lacked the sodden greasiness that often plagues this dish.
Bi bim gook soo ($8), a noodle-based version of bibimbap, was new to me, and quite spicy. Your waiter will do the honors and mix it up before you dig in. It has the kind of heat that comes on quick and fast, leaving one coming back for more.
Bo ssam ($20), or pork belly with pickled cabbage, spicy daikon, and seasoned oyster, is something I haven't had since I used to hang out in K-town. Seasoned oyster is an understatement—the oysters sit in some sort of kimchi marinade and are incredibly funky, but nevertheless tasty when wrapped up in a bit of cabbage with some belly and spicy daikon.
My only complaint about the bo ssam here is that the cabbage leaves are far too small to contain a nice hunk of fatty belly, an oyster, and some spicy daikon. My dining companion suggested they make the pieces of pork smaller. That is, of course, not the solution—the answer is bigger pieces of cabbage!