New York City is smack dab in the middle of Restaurant Week and my friends inboxes have been filled with "look at the list" messages for at least 2 weeks now. Its always great to have fellow fab foodie friends, so heading to Kristabelli, a Korean BBQ restaurant in Midtown with one of my fab friends was the perfect time to chat about business and boys. Tucked in a neighboring block just outside of KoreanTown in Manhattan, I was taken aback at how beautiful this restaurant was.
With a glass wine wall, a booming lounge upstairs and marble tables, I knew our dinner would be a fabulous one. Im a fan of Korean BBQ, especially table top BBQ, and Kristalbelli raised the bar with their 99.9 % natural crystal grills that sit in the middle of the table. These crystal table top grills cook 2-3 times faster, and has infrared rays which enable the meat to cook simultaneously inside and out while producing no smoke or flare ups. Settling in, ordering glasses of wine and beginning the evening convo with, "Girl let me tell you what he did"... here's what we dined on.
Bossam Bun - seared pork belly x scallion x jalapeño x gu-chu-tang sauce
Tuna - big eye tuna sashimi x smoked bacon lardon x champagne gelee x korean pear - fuji apple sauce
Wagyu Rib Eye - 9oz
Dry Age Rib Eye - 10oz
Popcorn Ice Cream - caramelized popcorn x vanilla ice cream x baked Nagul salt
Bread Pudding - banana chocolate x bourbon sauce x candied ginger
Starting with an amuse bouche compliments of the chef, everything at Kristalbelli was elegant yet recognizable. As we swapped appetizers of pork belly buns, big eye tuna and weekly business goals, our server prepared the crystal grill by gliding a cube of fat over the grill. (server, I love you) then placed bright beautifully red steaks and vegetables on top. Our server asked us how we would like our meat cooked and whether we preferred the fat on or off as he continued to set us up with a variety of accompaniments including bowls of rice, paper thin sliced pickled radishes, flaked sea salt and kimchi. Im not a huge steak eater but our dry age rib eye and wagyu rib eye were so amazingly fresh and tender that I couldn't stop eating it.
As we luxuriated in wine, steak and conversation before we knew it, it was time for dessert. The popcorn ice cream accompanied with salt was delicious. The added salt brought out an extra layer of flavor and the bread pudding was piping hot, dense and decadent. I want Kristabelli to give me steak and bread pudding every week. Some restaurants don't offer you their best during Restaurant Week, but Kristalbelli isn't one of them. I didn't feel like the food or service lacked because we ordered from a different menu, and the attentiveness and care was clearly showcased through out our evening. I love when a Restaurant Week dinner can be recommended, and Kristalbelli is fabulously recommended.
8 West 36th Street
New York, NY. 10018