Bann is not your typical Korean restaurant. It focuses more on high end dining and definitely takes creative license with its dishes. If you are in the mood for true Korean, this is not the place for you. If you are in the mood for some fabulous food, this is a spot you should definitely hit up.
One criticism, the banchan at Bann is not what you normally get at Korean BBQ. Here it consists of three bites on a small plate (as you can see in the picture), Korean white rice and green salad. This can put off traditionalists (and even me). Once you bite into the kimchi your tongue will remind you not to bee too upset. The kimchi is not as spicy as the stuff you get at more traditional places, the flavor is quite balanced and has a touch of sweetness. Simply lovely. The rice is delicious, it has a slight crunch on top and is quite tasty…not bland as you would expect.
On this visit (I have been there three times) I had the Yook Ke Jang ($15) a spicy red chili soup with shredded beef, glass noodles, shitake mushroom and scrambled egg. I absolutely loved this soup. It was silky in the mouth, the flavor had a slight heat that worked perfectly with the egg. The soup was not too salty, it was quite balanced actually. The portion was huge, so those upset at the skimpy banchan would surely be placated by this dish. Definitely enough to take home and enjoy later.
The bulgogi ($24)was done with a great marinade. This was my companion’s dish and I found myself picking off his plate continuously. There was a slight hint of danger while cooking this dish, the meat was sliced so thin that we were in constant fear the meat would fall inside the grill. Luckily, this was not the case. We found that the meat tasted best on the rarer side.
Bann is recommended if you can put aside the expectations of Korean Barbecue. This place has gone outside the box to offer something truly special.
Bann is located at 350 West 50th Street (between 8th and 9th) in New York City (212) 582-4446