A big new, three-floor Koreatown entrant opens today, bringing the first American location of South Korea’s oldest Korean barbecue chain Sam Won Garden to New York City. The 180-seat restaurant at 37 West 32nd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, is split into three sections, with the ground floor for walk-ins and smaller reservations, the second for private parties, and the third for large group reservations.
Known as a more luxury KBBQ stop in Korea, the tabletop Korean barbecue restaurant has made some concessions for America here in NYC. Executive chef Kwak Young Ho has add items like bacon mung bean pancakes, kimchi cheese fries, and tuna poke. As for the KBBQ, there are various meats on offer, some dry-aged, all originating from an Arizona cattle farm. The drinks list leans heavily on New World wine and beer on tap.
Simon Lee, the owner of now-closed but popular Asian club Circle is behind operations here, partnering with a big restaurant group in Asia, SG DineHill. SG DineHill poured $5.5 million into this opening to bring the first U.S. location of Sam Won — which opened in Seoul in 1976 as Korea’s first luxury, large (1,200 seats) restaurant — to the states.
Of course, there is no shortage of Korean barbecue on 32nd Street, but Sam Won’s opening adds to increasingly luxe options on the block, including the high-end Gaonnuri that opened in 2012.
Sam Won is open daily at 11 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday until 2:30 a.m., Thursday until 4:30 a.m., and Friday and Saturday until 5:30 a.m. For opening night and Saturday, everything is half off.