I recently found myself in New York City with no plans for lunch. Scratch that, we had plans, but the place was closed. We, by the way, is my dad and brother. Them being great, and loaded with iPhone goodness (them, not me), they set off on finding a new vegetarian restaurant that we could walk to. Mind you, we had already walked about 4 miles. Anyway, my brother won the race, and we ended up being only a few blocks away from HanGawi, a Korean vegetarian restaurant on 32nd street. It was still a little bit of a walk, but it was most definitely worth it.
First, when you walk in...they make you take off your shoes. Fun! If you're not into that, they have slippers, but the shoes must come off! (They also have bathroom slippers outside the restrooms, so you're not in there barefoot/socked because that'd be gross). Then they take you to your seat.
Now is about when I should apologize for the pictures being crappy, but I didn't want to be obvious, and the lighting was very low. Anyway, I don't know if you can tell, but there aren't any chairs. It sort of like a big hole with a table that comes up out of the middle, and then you sit on the ledge, which is kind of a bench with nice cushions on it.
Then its food time. It wasn't very crowded when we were there (a very odd time on a Sunday), but there was a couple next to us, and their food looked awesome...and we were starving. It was time to eat.
First, we had this sweet potato noodle appetizer. It came wrapped up in this paper, and they cut it open at the table.
Really good, nice and simple, noodles with vegetables.
We all got pretty different things for dinner.
Me: Spicy Grilled Todok and Asparagus on a Stick
If you are unfamiliar with todok, as I was, it is a mountain root, of the Codonopsis plant. They're really big on it there, when I asked, he said it was chewy and it gives you a lot of energy. I can't find too much information online about it, but if you are interested, you can read a little about it here. I can tell you that it is definitely chewy. It tastes pretty good, but I didn't experience anything so magical that I would order it again though.
Dad: Mongolian Hot Pot
This was really good. It was a nice broth, spicy from kimchi, and filled with vegetables and tofu. Tasty.
Brother: Tofu Pizza
They used slices of tofu for the pizza base, and topped it with...stuff. I honestly don't remember what it was, although I know there was strawberry involved, as well as a pine nut cream sauce. He was nice enough to let me have a piece, and it was really good.
In addition to our meals, we also had brown rice, wild rice, spicy kimchi, and some lemon-ginger kimchi (is it still called kimchi if its not spicy? if not, then lemon-ginger cabbage). This was actually my first time having kimchi, which is kind of surprising since it was pretty prevalent in Hawaii.
After that, we put our shoes back on and...
No, no, wait. We're at a vegetarian restaurant. This does not happen often for me. We must have had dessert, right? We definitely did. I'm sure this is not a Korean specialty, but it was awesome, and also happened to be the only picture that came out well: Tofu Cheesecake
Yes, I forgot to take the picture until we were halfway through it.
Not that the food wasn't good here, it was excellent, but what would bring me back the most is the atmosphere. With so many good vegetarian places in New York, its hard for me to justify coming back to a place that I've already visited. This place is just so mellow though, quiet, relaxed, and they pride themselves on being a really spiritual restaurant. So, if you're ever in the area, I recommend.
By the way...anyone in the New York "area" want to meet up one weekend? I don't know when, but if you're interested you can email me rather than leaving a comment, I just thought it might be fun to get some bloggers (or readers!) together.