For my birthday my friends Jeff and Eva gave me a gift certificate to the kitchen supply store Broadway Panhandler. I decided to grab lunch near the store, since I was going to be in the city anyway. I did a quick Google Maps search and noticed a place with the simple name 8 St. Kitchen just a few blocks away. I did a little research and found that 8 St. Kitchen is a relatively new Korean restaurant (open just seven months, according to my server), and that they have a reasonably priced lunch menu.
The restaurant has windows open on to W 8th St, letting in a ton of natural light onto the wooden benches and tables. I got the “Sizzling Hot Stone Bibimbap” with “crispy tofu” for $8. First they brought out two small plates of banchan, little Korean appetizers: kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) and a sweet pickled radish. They also brought me a bowl of miso soup, but it was a little too fishy for my taste. My bibimbap came out not long after my second round of banchan; bibimbap is a large, heated stone bowl filled with rice, mushrooms, vegetables, and (in my case) tofu, all topped with an egg yolk. “Do you know how to eat it?” asked my server. It’s not complicated, basically you mix everything up together with the Korean barbecue sauce they provide, and the heat of the bowl cooks everything together. This was superb — fresh, well seasoned, simple food; the barely cooked yolk giving richness to everything and the rice getting crispy at the bottom for a nice crunchy treat. It was refreshing to get good Korean food without having to travel to K-Town, and not having to put up with a modern fusion take on Korean.
8 St. Kitchen — 22 W 8th St.