Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Five Features to Cut or Keep at Gahm Mi Oak

Below is the best and worst of a recent meal at Gahm Mi Oak ((43 W. 32nd St.)

1. Poolside Putrefaction: The restaurant smelled like mildewed pool towels.  Perhaps the spa next door shares an air vent?  Perhaps neither has an air vent?

2. Too Tough Kimchi: Servers scissored the kimchi tableside, which was fine since forks and knives aren’t offered, but they needed to scissor every subsequent bite.  These were some tough leaves!  That said, a hint of effervescence from fermentation was pleasant enough.

3. Kimchi Bin Dae Duk: The Real IHOP Pancake: If only IHOP would start serving the world’s true bounty of savory international pancakes, starting with Chinese scallion pancakes and finishing with these delightful Korean mung-bean pancakes. Unlike greasy scallion pancakes though, these thicker numbers are delicate enough to make me forget what brought the goodness together, hot oil.  An added bonus, here they’ll serve a single disk to a solo diner.

4. Bibim Bap.  Presented beautifully with all the components segmented out into pie chart wedges.  It was a childlike pleasure to swirl them together with bean paste and broth.  Resulting flavors skewed towards the musty earthy side, which was fine, but a little more clarity of flavor components would have been nice.  I could see the variety of ingredients but I couldn’t really taste it.

5. Best for Boys’ Night Out: Once again Korean food shows itself to be a less refined—artful edibles not edible art—and far more virile version of its regional competitors.  It’s also a great reason to start, continue or recover from a drinking bout.  That said, these virtues are possessed by many a Korean restaurant, and are better represented on the block’s barbecue and chicken restaurants.

Conclusions: Not quite a clip joint, but you’d do yourself a service to head to Queens for better-priced, better-spiced fare.  There’s a reason so many diners here have rolling suitcases.


4 Responses to “Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Five Features to Cut or Keep at Gahm Mi Oak”

  1. Yorkville Slurper Says:

    Go Queens. As far as ethnic restaurants go, look for the strollers not the rollers/rolling bags. In other words, local babies not visiting businessmen are a sure sign you’re on to something.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Where do you go in Queens?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I like the savory IHOP idea. Maybe they could do the Malaysian pancakes with peanut sauce?

  4. Mary M. Says:

    There is some good Korean on 32nd street; GMO just isn’t it. Do a little searching on Chowhound then try again.

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