NYC's Korean American LittleMäd Has A Tasting Menu That's Actually Affordable

Statistically speaking, there's probably a good chance that you're already a solid (or aspiring) Korean food fan. According to the food and beverage analytics platform Spoonshot, 90% more foodies took an interest in Korean food in 2021 than the previous year (via The Food Institute). Maybe you've even taken a trip to H Mart to get your hands on some of the most authentic Korean ingredients available on the market.

Famously, one of the most globally-notorious places where food and culture intersect (and intertwine) is New York City. Perhaps you've been to Bonnie's, the Cantonese-American fusion restaurant that has taken the Brooklyn food scene by storm since opening last December (via Grub Street.) Now, just as Cantonese-speaking China borders Korea, there's a hot new Korean-American restaurant on the block just a 30-minute train ride away in Manhattan that's taking Korean cuisine in NYC to the next level. Introducing: LittleMäd, located at 110 Madison Ave. in the heart of Midtown East. In addition to a Korean-American fusion influenced by the head chef's own experience working around the city, says Eater, LittleMäd also provides one especially delicious offering: A tasting menu that's actually affordable.

Korean meets American, and old meets new

Meet the restaurant Michelin Guide raves is "making a rather large splash on this unexpected stretch of Madison Avenue." LittleMäd is spearheaded by Chef Sol Han, who previously worked for elite NYC establishments Ai Fiori and Le Coucou, per Eater. But LittleMäd is a much more personal endeavor for Han than his previous gigs. "If you want to put all of me in a restaurant," says Han, "this is kind of all of me in a restaurant."

Fittingly, the menu combines the influences of authentic Korean food and Han's own experience working in European fine dining restaurants. LittleMäd's physical interior is the product of a similar fusion. The design is elevated yet industrial with concrete and copper-plated décor. Hip-hop music plays in the main dining room. Michelin says the space "hums with energy," which is particularly impressive considering it was built in a since-shuttered hot pot restaurant. Conversely, LittleMäd first opened its doors in June 2022, but it has already accrued massive attention in a highly competitive culinary city.

If you want to check some of the most elite dining options New York has to offer, Michelin just released its 2022 guide earlier this week, and 19 NYC restaurants were awarded their first Michelin stars. But, if you'd rather "have your cake and eat it too," LittleMäd offers a little something for every palette and wallet. So, without further ado, here's what's on the menu.

Little prices at LittleMäd

As with many tasting menu spots, LittleMäd is dinner-only — it doesn't open until 5:30 and closes at 10:00. Still, while the window for guests is small, their approval has been massive. The restaurant boasts a 4 ½ star Yelp rating. The New York Times included LittleMäd on its "Our 50 Favorite Restaurants of 2022" list, praising the fried buhsut served inside a half onion with the skin still on. Michelin Guide mentions the barbecued eel served as a prime rib, the beef tartare, and the radicchio Treviso with uni.

LittleMäd operates on a rotating menu, but as of right now, offerings include cold yellowtail or scallop crudo, hot monkfish, and dry-aged branzino, among other small plates. For dessert, it's Earl Gray shaved ice or French pâte à choux. The best part? Five courses run for just $75. For comparison, the 10-course tasting menu at NYC's double-Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko (which requires a recommended three hours to complete) runs for a much steeper $280. As the Times puts it, at LittleMäd, "the whole thing comes out to less than $100 before tax and tip... that's just magical."

There's no shortage of spirits, either. A bottle for the table ranges from $70 to upwards of $900. But cocktails (like the espresso martini-inspired Spark Plug or Sol Honey made with Damsoul Pine Soju) cap off at $18. Wine by the glass is in a similar range at $12-$27.