I’m trying not to think about food because I want to be starving by the time the party starts after the James Beard Awards tonight. (If you’ve ever been to the event, you know what I mean.) Anyway, it’s not working. I’ve written about Bibimbar before. It’s virtually hidden behind Setagaya on First Avenue in the East Village. It never seems to be very busy, even though I’ve been telling everyone I know to try it. Honestly, bibimbop doesn’t get much better. At the start of most Korean meals, they bring out the banchan. Sometimes it’s just kimchee, but it really varies. At my last visit to Bibimbar, they brought this gorgeous thing (see above photo). It looks like some kind of sweet melon soup, but why would they bring that at the start of a meal? What do you think… okay, I’ll tell you. It was a pickled vegetable soup, or at least that’s the best I can do to describe it. Not sweet at all. I thought it was stunning.
About the kimchee, it’s garlicky. I mean REALLY garlicky. Imagine kimchee, which is already a bit spicy, and then chop up a whole bunch of raw garlic, like a few cloves, and mix that in. Then let it sit until the garlic flavor completely takes over. Then you’re starting to get the idea. I almost can’t eat it, which is a shame because I really love kimchee. (Yes, I’ve made it before with my Korean girlfriend. Click here to read about it.)
Did I mention the bibimbap is amazing? I hope this place sticks around. I’ve read mixed reviews from people who think the stone pots are too hot. Okayyy. The stone pots are the best part. Definitely worth a try.