Hooni Kim's Danji in Midtown

Danji gives diners the new and the old

The word "traditional," much like its brethren "authentic" and "organic," is often loaded. As a result, organizing one's menu around the word--as Midtown newcomer Danji does--invites an additional layer of critique.

But chef Hooni Kim (pictured), a Daniel alum, is up to the challenge, and his bifurcated menu approaches Korean food from contemporary and classic angles.

From the modern side, bulgogi sliders ($14) continue the ascent up the city's well-trodden slope of bao; Danji's fluffy buns contain chunks of tender filet mignon, which are offset with spicy pickles. Likewise, an egg-topped, kimchi- and chorizo-studded paella ($14) straddles the happy line between staunch Korean flavors and New American cuisine.

From the traditional side, start by spooning up a velvety butternut-squash congee ($5); the combination of sweet squash, leeks and dried mushroom unite with mochi for an incredibly airy texture.

Segue into a square of sablefish ($16), also an exercise in textural supremacy; the fish is poached alongside daikon in a syrupy soy-sauce reduction, rendering it too soft to hold up against a fork.

And the restaurant recently launched lunch service, which might be one of Midtown's best-kept secrets: The chance to have two courses and two banchan for $12 to $14 makes a good argument to extend your lunch break.

Consider it your new tradition.

Danji, 346 W. 52nd St. (between Eighth and Ninth aves.); 212-586-2880 or danjinyc.com

Danji 346 W. 52nd St. New York NY 10019 212-586-2880
Want the inside scoop?
get the latest recipes, news and hacks from tasting table
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.

Extreme Makeover

Keep Reading

Around the Web

Get the Tasting Table newsletter for adventurous eaters everywhere