NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kai Bi & Bouchon Bakery with Robyn
Today was a bit unusual for me to go fooding with someone since it’s a Monday. That someone was Robyn. She e-mailed me over on Sunday regarding to a favor that I’ve asked for when she went to her food and fun excursion to Paris for her Spring Break (Lucky girl), which is getting me some Pierre Herme’s stuff! I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I’ll just start from the beginning…
We’ve exchanged e-mails wondering where the heck do we eat, meet, and get my PH goodies; eventually we agreed on Korean food at NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kai Bi. We’ve met during lunchtime (around 12:40 PM) and proceeded to enter the restaurant. It looked somewhat empty and when we asked for seating, the employees pointed upstairs. When we got up and asked for a table for two, we were seated near the windows for a table for six. How odd.
We perused the menu and Robyn decided on ordering a pork stone bowl ($8.95) and I ordered a beef bento box from the lunch special ($8.95).
After waiting a couple of minutes, the waitress gave our banchan, which means Korean appetizers.
Group (food) photo!
Korean style potato salad
It’s quite a generous offering: small plates of kimchee, a Korean style potato salad, cooked, cold watercress, pickled vegetables, and the dried fish. They’re pretty good. Robyn really likes the watercress. I’m just not too fond of that mayonnaise vegetable salad.
The tea served was pretty good, it’s the rice cracker type of tea. Robyn liked it a lot since it had a sweet background with that nutty, rice cracker flavor. The miso soup is also served; I still think their soup is still a bit too salty but it’s a bit more palatable.
Blurry miso soup…
Well, Robyn’s stone bowl came out hot and sizzling with all the lovely ingredients that is anticipating to be mixed by her. Since Robyn loves spicy food, she poured on the hot sauce as she mixes her food.
Robyn’s Gobdol Bimibap
Robyn mixing her bimibap and squeezing a ton of sauce.
I tasted a bite of her food and it’s pretty good. It’s healthy but tasty stuff: bean sprouts, mushrooms, and other vegetables and a bit of pork. Yums.
My kalbi beef bento box was HUGE. It’s a generous amount of food considering the fact that it’s $8.95. Oy…the beef was well, beefy and tender. The California roll is not so great. I’ve had better. The other things that were in my bento were good but nothing much to speak about except the fact that it’s a lot of grub.
My Kalbi (Beef) Bento Box
Orange slices served when given the check
When we finished our lunch, Robyn and I are groaning that we’re full but we’re thinking about dessert. Since she has brought me some Pierre Herme’s chocolates and macarons from Paris, I wanted to compare macarons from Bouchon Bakery as well. The argument that Robyn made is that you’re comparing two entirely different things; it’s like comparing an apple to an orange. But still, I wanted to do it and I dragged Robyn along.
Since it’s about 1:40, Bouchon is packed with the lunch crowd. But we’re motivated to stay and do a comparison of macarons and nosh some other stuff from Bouchon. What captivated me to eat was the Key Lime Cheese Danish, a Meyer Lemon macaron, and a Coconut macaron. Robyn ordered a Pain aux Raisin, a Meyer Lemon macaron, and a Vanilla macaron (even though she thought she ordered a hazelnut). Here’s the goods…
Robyn’s Pain aux Raisins
My danish was interesting. It’s uber flaky (I wish more croissants were this flaky), the cream cheese portion was tasty but too little of it was in there; my favorite part was the sweet, key lime flavored graham cracker cubes but it’s not something I would eat again since I wanted more filling.
Danish; split in half
Robyn’s pain aux raisin was really buttery that its flavor dominated my palate. The pastry was really moist, obviously due to the high butterfat content, and it had a good amount of raisins in every bite. It’s really tasty.
Pain aux Raisins’ innards
Now, the macarons. Bouchon’s Meyer lemon macaron was too chewy and it had a more dominant almond flavor instead of the lemon. Robyn’s vanilla macaron was decent. It’s not as chewy but the ratio of filling to cookie is too little. My coconut macaron had a nice coconut texture from the coconut flakes in the cookie, a bit chewy but it’s still not mind blowing.
Robyn’s Macaron innards
My Macarons’ innards
The box of macarons (from Pierre Herme)! Where’s the beaming light from the heavens when you needed one?
Appropriately named “Fetish” macarons. It’s becoming mine…
It’s love, man. All love…
After eating all of that stuff as well as lunch, I’m really stuffed but I wanted to compare PH’s macarons to Bouchon. I just picked one randomly and Robyn told me I have the Pistache Griottine.
Oh, the anticipation of greatness…
The physical differences between PH’s and Bouchon’s is that PH’s is a lot more heavier in weight, a five times the amount of filing than Bouchon, and the diameter is a bit smaller.
Pistache Griottine macaron innards
When I put the first half of PH’s macaron in my mouth, all I said was, “Oh my god.” Robyn asked, “Is it good?” I just replied that, “It’s too good that I’m speechless.” I felt tears of joy welling up in my eyes from the taste and texture of that macaron. It’s so damn good! It’s like eating a macaron created by the macaron god (refering to Pierre Herme). Now Thomas Keller’s (the owner of Bouchon Bakery) macaron is just a petty, ignorant mortal’s macaron. It’s just awful after eating Pierre Herme’s macaron. I really want to start a petition and an e-mailing campaign to Mr. Keller to make a macaron similar to Pierre Herme (more filling and less chewy cookies), and/or write to Pierre Herme to open a branch in New York City! We must get better macarons! New Yorkers is known to be a tough crowd for food, so why not demand for better macarons?! Not pitiful cookies that tastes like crap.
For contact info to Pierre Hermes, click here (please note that it’s in French), as for Thomas Keller, click here. I mean it! Write an e-mail protesting the dismal state of macarons in New York (even in the United States) and demand for better macarons! I’m even doing it now.
About the rest of the macarons’ life, it didn’t last too long since I ate it all last night. Yep. They’re too delicious to not eat. If you want to know the rest of the flavors I’ve gotten from Robyn, click here; for the innards shot, click here. I honestly believe that was the best $25 I’ve ever spent on food (it also include a small box of chocolates too).
NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kai Bi
32 W 32nd Street
New York, NY
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY