Cho Dang Gol
A few blocks away from the main drag of Little Korea, this restaurant specializes in tofu (doo-boo in Korean). Myriad varieties of bean curd are made on the premises and then incorporated into a vast array of traditional Korean dishes of varying heat and spice. Anyone who thinks of tofu as a bland, jiggling substance should try dooboo dong-ka-rang-deng, puffy rounds of tofu filled with shredded vegetables and beef, or cho-dan-gol jung-sik, a three-part dish of tofu dregs, pork stew, and rice. The staff are lovely and eager to please.
Address: 181 55 W. 35th St., between 5th and 6th Aves.
Phone: 212/695-8222. AE, DC, MC, V.
Woo Lae Oak
Little Korea meets SoHo head-on at this chic eater, where patrons order traditional Korean dishes and tabletop barbecue. The food is spicy and flavorful: kimchee burns the lips and prepares the palate for such dishes as jang au gui (broiled eel served sizzling on a hot stone), a wonderful Korean version of steak tartare, sweet black cod simmered in a rich soy broth, or the but go gi - slices of beef grilled at the table. The food tastes like Seoul, but the ambiance is firmly grounded in SoHo. Tables are dark marble slabs, the lighting is romantically low, and attractive servers are dressed head to toe in black.
Address: 148 Mercer St., between Prince and Houston Sts.,
Phone: 212/925-8200. AE, DC, MC, V.