Since Tam works in midtown and it’s on my way downtown to Soho, we’ve been having our own little midtown lunch. Our lunches are filled with yummy foods and picture-taking madness, followed by slow waddles to the subway and our jobs, still lamenting not having ordered one more thing to try.
Our most recent Blogged Lunch was at Busan on 53rd St. between 2nd & 3rd Ave for some Korean fare. When I met Tam there, the window walls in front were wide open and Tam had picked a table that allowed us complete access to the outside world, and great natural sunlight for lots of picture taking. The wait staff was incredible attentive and the atmosphere was very sleek, which may explain the high price tags relative to Korea Town.
I needed something substantial and decided on a rice bowl with broiled eel while Tam ordered a hot bowl of rice cake soup. Both were presented beautifully and came with HALF a battered & fried egg and two little tempura asparagus spears. What’s up with this half an egg stuff, people? And to go to the lengths to batter and deep fry only half an egg… Why? Why not just give us a whole egg? And while the HALF egg and asparagus were lovely, there was NO KIMCHI. Yeah, I kid you not… an absence of kimchi. Nor were there any fun little condiments or a small deep-fried fish like at BCD Tofu House, just a small salad that was oddly dressed with unagi sauce, which was a little too sweet just dumped onto plain salad.
Luckily, the flavor of the eel rice bowl was pretty damn good, but what rice slathered with unagi sauce isn’t, right? Under the eel, there was a good amount of sautéed peppers, onions, and zucchini that were needed to compliment that earthiness of the eel (although kimchi would have also done that better). And the rice wasn’t just plain white rice, it was this delicious wild mix of purplish rice that had a nice nuttiness to it. The half an egg wasn’t bad, either, but it wasn’t anything special… especially not special because it was only half an egg. I do wish that the rice had been cooked-til-crispy on the bottom, but it hadn’t, and I was left wishing that I had something more.
Tam and I decided to get shaved ice with red bean and coconut milk. We have a similar dessert in Vietnamese cuisine, so we thought it would be a comforting way to send us back to work. Ladies & gentlemen, this is where Busan shined. Where they saved money on only serving half a fried egg, they splurged on topping our red bean shaved ice with plenty of strawberries & blueberries. The red bean was also surprisingly balanced, not sticky sweet the way red bean can sometimes be. The shaved ice, coconut milk, red bean, and tart berries made for a fabulous dessert that was refreshing, not heavy. It was the best way to end a warm summer’s lunch.
In the end, while I enjoyed dessert, I think I’m going to keep my Korean meals to Korea town. But I can’t wait for my next Blogged Lunch with Tam!