Restaurant: Hanjoo (East Village)

Hanjoo: Gimmick here is the crystal slab used for grilling, but the real secret to the deliciousness is all that kimchi piled up at the bottom end.  As the pork cooks, the fat and juices run down the crystal into the kimchi, adding an unctuous layer of seasoning that’s terrifyingly addictive.

Korean BBQ always comes with tons of little appetizers (banchan), and Hanjoo’s selection is more substantial than most, including the perfectly fried, crunchy fish seen here.  Just enough salt, crackly skin, I’m a happy woman.  To round off the meal, we ordered Yook Hwe (lower right corner of right-hand photo), the Korean version of beef tartare, where the beef comes sliced into long thin sticks (like string fries) rather than minced, then tossed tableside with a raw egg yolk, and crisp, sweet-cool pears and cucumbers.  It was surprisingly refreshing, a palate-cleanser to balance the fatty grilled pork.