'han joo' on Serious Eats

Hanjoo Brings Korean Pork Barbecue to the East Village

We first encountered Hanjoo on its home turf in Korean Flushing, when our man Chris Hansen lavished praise on its crispy and succulent crystal-grilled pork barbecue. We don't see much of the style of barbecue, a shame given the simple brilliance of the concept: Cook pork belly on an inclined plane of quartz over a gas burner. Let drippings fall into a pile of kimchi. Take delight.

So when another branch of Hanjoo opened in the East Village on Saint Mark's Place, we paid a visit quickly, and yup, there was that barbecue pork again, still awesome. But on our first visit and three subsequent trips, the restaurant has been more than half empty during peak hours. This street is a madhouse at night, and neighboring ramen joints and Chinese restaurants do well enough. So why aren't people going here?

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