New York City Restaurants

Danji

  • 346 W. 52nd St. Map It
  • Midtown West
  • Korean
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 06/26/2015

Fodor's Review

Diminutive and dark, Danji is no ordinary Korean restaurant. Helmed by talented chef Hooni Kim, this Hell's Kitchen spot stands out among the rows of restaurants that attract theatergoing tourists in the neighborhood. That's because Kim's take on Korean cuisine is inventive and inspired. The menu is split in two, and both sides contain a number of winning dishes. Start with the scallion and pepper pancake and the trio of kimchi from the "traditional" side, then set your taste buds singing with Korean chicken wings and unctuous pork-belly sliders from the "modern" side of the menu. Then count your blessings that you're not eating a mediocre meal like the rest of the out-of-town visitors in the neighorhood.

Restaurant Information

Address:

346 W. 52nd St., between 8th and 9th aves., New York, New York, 10019, USA

Map It

Phone:

212-586–2880

Website: www.danjinyc.com

Restaurant Details:

  • Closed Sun. No lunch Sat.

Published 06/26/2015

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jun 30, 2016

Great Atmosphere for Good Korean Food

My spouse and I enjoyed lunch at Danji on a Friday afternoon in late May 2016. Danji is located in the Hell’s Kitchen/Midtown West/Theatre District neighborhood of Manhattan on West 52nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. Danji serves lunch on weekdays and dinner on Mondays through Saturdays (closed on Sundays). The chef/owner of Danji also owns Hanjan (in the Flatiron District on West 26th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues). The restaurant accepts

reservations by telephone or using the Open Table reservation system. Danji is a small 36-seat restaurant that opened in December 2010. Upon entering, a small bar with seven or so seats is located near the front door (you can dine and drink at this bar). Two long communal high-top tables are located just beyond the bar, and three or so tables for parties of two are positioned at the back of the restaurant space; because of the minimalist décor, the space does not feel crowded. The bar and the tables are light wood, and rows of short white filmy Japanese fabric curtains cover the high ceiling. Thoughtful details like utility pipes wrapped with rope show that someone here cares. The most unique item in the restaurant is a sort of screen that separates the high-top tables from the regular (low-top) tables because it incorporates the use of many wooden spoons. Every inch of this space seems carefully thought out; above the bar, hanging stemware holders are incorporated into sort of Mason/Ball jar light fixtures with Edison bulbs, which match additional hanging/pendant lighting throughout the restaurant. Chef/owner Hooni Kim was born in Seoul but raised in New York; he attended the French Culinary Institute and has worked at New York’s Daniel and Masa. Danji used to hold one Michelin star (in years 2012, 2013, and 2014), although it does not at the present time. In fact, Danji was the first Korean restaurant to ever receive a Michelin star. Danji serves upscale, small-plate Korean food (no Korean BBQ here!) using authentic and quality ingredients (for example, pork from Niman Ranch, Christopher Ranch garlic) and lovely presentations. Danji uses meat grown without hormones and antibiotics, and it serves sustainable fish. As appetizers, we shared the vegetable dumplings (although the menu said “hand-made”, it did not state “crispy” or “deep-fried”, which they were), and the kimchi pork “mandoo” tacos (the menu said “open face” but the shells were closed and crispy/deep-fried). The two appetizers, while tasty, were not what we envisioned from the menu descriptions (we were thinking steamed dumplings and soft taco shells, but this may just be our lack of experience with Korean cuisine). For our entrees, we ordered the bulgogi (beef) bibim-bap (served “gop-dol” in a hot sizzling skillet for $2 extra, with rice and vegetables) and the cold but spicy pork noodles with bacon, kimchi, and a soft-boiled egg, Although there were no desserts available, we respect the restaurant for knowing what they do well (savory dishes) and choosing not to offer what they do not (sweets); there are a multitude of other places in the neighborhood to find your dessert. We loved our lunch at Danji for its uniqueness. We had never eaten Korean food before, but we will definitely do so again! We would love to try Hanjan next!

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