Located on the corner of 32nd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, Nubiani NYC has quietly been gaining momentum among diners who are in the mood for elevated Korean BBQ. Many first-timers might initially be disappointed to see that Nubiani has taken over the space of the beloved Third Floor Cafe, the decades old Korean gastropub that closed during the pandemic. However, diners will quickly be consoled by the ambiance, service, and outstanding food at Nubiani.
Cote NYC perfected high-end Korean BBQ back in 2017 and many restaurants have tried to follow in its footsteps ever since. Nubiani is the best example of how this kind of dining experience can be reimagined while staying true to the fundamentals of what people love about K-BBQ. What sets this new gem in the heart of K-town apart is how they serve wonderful high-quality Korean BBQ to their customers.
The classic Korean BBQ dining experience is one where you can grill and eat great cuts of meat at the table. However, at Nubiani, you have two table choices. One is the traditional private table and the other is a U-shaped bar where the server expertly cooks your cuts and doesn’t have to move far to work on your neighbor’s sizzling meat.
The Bar at Nubiani
At the Nubiani bar, the server is never far from your grill the entire time you dine there, and makes sure that your meat is perfectly cooked. We loved this level of grill attentiveness.
At the moment, the maximum number of people you can reserve at the bar is 3 people. I hope Nubiani will expand the maximum number of people in the near future so diners can experience this marvelous bar service with more people in their group.
Food at Nubiani
Perhaps just as exciting as the meats are the excellent banchan (Korean side dishes) served at Nubiani. Upon ordering your dinner, you will get a series of traditional banchan including marinated green onion with Korean spicy sauce, thinly sliced onions in vinegar soy sauce, pumpkin puree salad, various sauteed vegetable dishes, kimchee, and so on.
Also served before your main meal is a complimentary bowl of freshly steamed Korean egg souffle. The flavors are both comforting and surprising, and while everything looks familiar, the taste and presentation are simply top notch. If you can’t stop eating these beautifully displayed dishes, don’t worry, you can always politely ask for refills.
Meats can be ordered individually or you can order set packages. We ordered a small beef package and a small pork package since we wanted to try a variety. We also ordered a shrimp chive pancake for an appetizer. Each meat package comes with one stew and we could choose one between kimchi stew and soybean paste stew. Since we ordered two meat packages, we chose both.
The shrimp chive pancake was very thick with a lot of shrimp and chive inside of the pancake. Each bite of this substantial pancake was delightful with an extra crispy crust and super juicy shrimp. Both stews were perfect companions to the meat. Soybean paste stew was very hearty with a hint of spicy aftertaste from jalapeno. Kimchi stew was superbly acidic to neutralize the fattiness of the meat.
They served the beef first. The beef package consists of boneless short ribs, skirt steak, rib finger, and seasoned short ribs. The magnificent marbling of the beef and how they were arranged on the wooden plate showed a level of quality and attention to detail that was impressive. The beef quality was impeccable and the meat was cooked perfectly by our fabulous server. My very first bite of the tender meat revealed that it tasted as amazing as it looked.
After we finished the beef, the pork came out. The pork package consists of pork belly, pork jowl, and seasoned shoulder butt. The pork platter was also a showpiece. You can see the perfect ratio of fat and meat and our server cooked the pork masterfully to perfection. This exquisite crispy pork was so delicious that I found myself wishing the meal would never end.
After the feast, we got our complimentary dessert, yuzu frozen yogurt. The citric flavor and softness of frozen yogurt were a lovely ending to our amazing dinner.