by Julie Besonen, 03/06/2013
Photo: Soojung Kwon
12 St. Marks Place, 646-559-8683, East Village, Manhattan
In the midst of St. Marks' busiest, most rambunctious strip is a quiet oasis serving top-notch Korean barbecue. Han Joo (owned by Felicia Park and Daeyoung Kim) was originally a spin-off of Flushing's popular Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ and offers a similar menu of pork belly marinated in green tea leaves and garlic, succulent prime short ribs and micro-thin sliced beef brisket and duck. Both venues tout the advantages of crystal grills cooking the meat evenly by smokeless infrared light. No burnt ends here, just incredibly tender, flavorful cuts served in generous portions. A blitz of free dishes arrives first, kimchi and fiery cucumber, marinated tofu and custard-like scrambled egg. They are true appetizers, awakening the palate but not filling you up.