clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A round pan with nuggets of organ meat of various sorts.
The intestines and other offal being grilled.

Filed under:

The Manhattan Restaurant Where Offal Is the Headliner

Gopchang Story in Koreatown draws a crowd in search of organ meats

Among the many Korean barbecue restaurants in Manhattan’s Koreatown, Gopchang Story is difficult to spot: It’s around the corner from 32nd Street at 312 Fifth Avenue, on the second story above a gastropub. A long hike up a stairway puts you on the restaurant’s landing, and as you enter you may find the place so utilitarian looking — with bare brick walls, hard metal chairs, and cases of beverages stacked here and there — that you might consider leaving to go eat in a more glamorous place.

Don’t let the lack of formality deter you: Gopchang Story turns out some of the trendiest food in Koreatown. Many evenings, diners stand in long lines waiting for gopchang, small and large intestines (usually beef), with their crunchy exterior and soft insides. The restaurant got its start in Korea in 2004, and our own branch is five years old. During that time, the gopchang fad has gradually taken off here and in Los Angeles as well.

While other barbecues in the neighborhood may glory in their beef bulgogi, pork belly, or marinated short ribs, Gopchang Story is a symphony of organ meats. With locations in Manhattan and Flushing, it has a menu that’s rather extensive, arranged by appetizers like beef tartare and dumplings; barbecue (large and small intestines, heart, tongue, tripe, and what they call “entrails”); casseroles, soups, rice, and noodles.

A plain sign and picture windows in this upward tilting shot.
Gopchang Story is found on the second story of a commercial building on Fifth Avenue.
Women sit at several tables, with the windows showing Fifth Avenue in the background.
The interior of Gopchang Story.

Our gopchang feast started with soju, the beverage of choice. Once we ordered, the server positioned a grooved, cast-iron pan on an induction burner, then unfolded a clear plastic windshield around it, so we could see the meats as they cooked without being splattered (since offal is fattier than you might imagine).

A woman stands cooking with a plastic screen around her.
Cooking the offal at the table.

We picked a double order of the restaurant’s signature assortment ($62), which principally contains large intestine, small intestine, tripe, and heart. We added an extra order of large intestine ($31) since it’s a star of the show.

As the cooking began, a server sprinkled a proprietary spice mixture over the order, and the meats began to sizzle. The large intestine (daechang gui) crisped and its outer surface browned, while the interior stayed light. Potato, tubular rice cake, and masses of shredded green chives joined the mix, and a garlicky and peppery soy-based dipping sauce was provided. As for the defining flavors and textures: The large intestine is squishy and a bit crunchy; the small one spongy but yielding; the tripe, rubbery yet firm; and the heart, kind of livery tasting.

A heaping bowl of browned and glistening intestines.
A serving bowl of intestines and other organs.

Once we finished eating the organ meats, an attendant sopped up the pan with a couple of slices of bread, then threw them aside. Then she prepared fried rice in that same pan, adding gochujang, hijiki, and roe ($14 extra). She followed it with a mixture of egg and cheese, which turned into an omelet moat. Some diners consider this fried rice the best part of the meal, and the scrapings that stick to the pan are divine.

Orange fried rice with a ring of egg and grated white cheese around it.
Fried rice cooked in the same pan as the intestines.
A bowl of raw beef strips with an egg yolk on top.
Beef tartare at Gopchang Story.

Beyond barbecue, the amazing beef tartare ($23) is a standout. The beef was presented in ropey and nearly frozen tendrils with an egg yolk on top and gochujang and Asian pear on the side. The seafood pancake was also terrific, much coarser than others I’ve had and bursting with squid and shrimp.

We ended our meal with buckwheat noodles ($18) immersed in a cold, sweet broth with boiled egg, shaved radish, and chile paste. As we fished them out of the broth, the noodles were green and tasted of horseradish — a bracing end to an intriguing and satisfying meal.

A bowl with green noodles and red broth.
Our meal concluded with spicy cold buckwheat noodles.

Gopchang Story BBQ

312 W 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 695-4627 Visit Website
NYC Pop-Up Restaurants

A Renaissance Faire-Inspired Meal — And More Food Pop-Ups

A.M. Intel

Historic Grocer Sahadi’s Is Returning to Manhattan

NYC Restaurant Openings

The Rosella Team Opens an Omakase With North American Seafood — And More Openings