Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gahm Mi Oak : Manhattan, New York

Just as an fyi to any regular readers (All one of you. Hi Mom! :P ), I will be posting on a much lighter schedule, since I've finally run out of backlogged restaurants to post about.  Hopefully, this should give me more time to keep up with other great food blogs and improve my content.

Anyhow, my second stop on my quick trip to New York was Gahm Mi Oak, also a Korean restaurant in Korea Town Manhattan. This is also, unfortunately, another pictureless post.  But Gahm Mi Oak is fairly well known for what I ordered, their seoleongtang or ox bone broth.  I first was introduced to this place and the broth by a Korean friend, who mentioned that it's especially popular as a late night post-drinking/karaoke snack.  If you're unfamiliar with Gahm Mi Oak or seoleongtang, I'd suggest first heading on over to Serious Eats' lovely write-up and an old Chowhound post about the matter.

Ox Bone Broth (Seoleongtang) - Both times I have had this, this was significantly lighter than I expected.  When I hear the words "bone broth," I think of a chicken soup or something along the lines of the pork bone broth served at Wenzhou Zhuji XiaoChi: something hearty, rich, slow-cooked and full of umami.  This broth, on the other hand, struck me very much like water in plain white-rice porridge.  Or perhaps an even better example would be milky leftover water when cooking pasta.  This sort of starchy, slightly thickened broth, with just a hint of meaty flavor.  It's served absolutely unflavored, with bowls of salt and fresh chopped scallions at your table that you can add yourself to flavor it.  In the broth are what seemed to be rice noodles and slices of ox meat.

I should mention that this was accompanied with kimchi that was cut on the table, which was pretty decent stuff.  A decent kick, not overly sweetened.  The only thing was that it had a slight sharp, almost metallic taste to it that I could have used without.

Kimchi is usually served as a side with Korean food, but I mention it specifically here, well first because NY foodies seem to really like Gahm Mi Oak's kimchi and second, it's spicy bold flavors play the yang to the ox bone broth's subtle yin.

It's a kind of strange beast.  Tasting it there by itself, its flavors struck me as remarkably plain, yet it's strangely memorable.  Thinking about it now, I can still taste the textures and the subtle flavors in my mouth now.

Anyways, if you want a different experience than the standard bi bim bap / Korean BBQ stuff, especially if you're looking for something lighter, give this a whirl.  But if you do decide to change your mind inside, apparently their bi bim bap is a pretty solid version as well.

One last note, I polished off all of the kimchi and the broth and found myself slightly hungry afterwards.  Its light in flavor and not really a hearty meal either.  But it's certainly memorable.

Gahm Mi Oak
43 W 32nd St New York, NY 10001 (Map)
(212) 695-4113

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