New York, NY 10019
Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-12am; Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-1am; also open Sun
Danji softens its industrially spare décor with a pervasive visual calm: nude wooden communal tables sit under filament light bulbs, surrounded by exposed brick walls and white ceiling beams. It’s the ideal setting for 2011 Rising Star Chef Hooni Kim, a quiet, ambitious chef who unites his Korean heritage and rigorous French training in small, sophisticated, shareable plates. And even though the menu is divided into traditional and modern Korean cuisine, each has notes of Western technique and flavors; the "Danji" traditional short ribs come with cipollini onions and pine nuts, while delectably rich pork belly sliders (a savvy wink to Western palates) are spiked with Korea’s ubiquitous gochu pepper.