THIS KOREAN RESTAURANT IS EXPANDING TO QUEENS — AND SOON, THE WORLD

Okdongsik, a restaurant known for its pork broth soup that Hand Hospitality brought to New York, by way of Seoul, is running with the format, expanding to a second location in the five boroughs — and then the rest of the world. This fall, Hand Hospitality — New York’s fast expanding Korean hospitality group — is bringing Okdongsik to Bayside, Queens: at 43-13 Bell Boulevard. It’s a return to Queens for the group, who previously operated Izakaya Mew in Flushing, until it closed in 2022.

When Okdongsik debuted in 2017 in Korea, it gained notoriety for its two-dish focus, particularly, its pork soup, called dweji gomtang. In 2022, it arrived in Manhattan as a pop-up, before deciding to plant down more permanent roots. As New York Times’ Pete Wells pointed out in his two-star review in 2023, the original Okdongsik was known for serving just 100 bowls of soup per day, the limited supply amped up its appeal, but the pared-back approach is its core: “Okdongsik’s soup is said to be made from just aromatic vegetables and muscle, without bones, offal or trimmings that might thicken and cloud the broth,” Wells wrote. “Mr. Ok is a super-specialist of a kind the United States rarely produces.”

It joins other new restaurants like Okiboru, a Japanese spot with Manhattan a tsukemen and udon shop, and Kisa, a restaurant styled like Korean taxi driver establishments, both not apart of Hand, that serve streamlined menus, where the full dining experience can be accomplished in under an hour — not including wait times.

In Bayside, more quiet than Hand’s usual neighborhoods, the menu will not just offer its typical soup and mandu but will add a third dish, seafood pancakes.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Hand Hospitality says the team is also working on bringing the restaurant to Paris later this year and Honolulu (following pop-ups), early 2025, with both leases signed.

It’s no secret that Hand Hospitality has risen to citywide dominance the past few years, having opened or partnering in restaurants from here and abroad that include Her Name is Han, Ariari, Seoul Salon, Cho Dang Gol, Lysee, Yuji Ramen, Atoboy, Hakata Ton Ton, Jua, Towa, Moono, and Samwoojung. There is a good chance you may not even have realized you’ve been in one of their spots — the group was recently called “elusive” by the Times in a feature detailing their scope.

Later this season, they’re targeting opening New York’s own Joo Ook, a Michelin-starred Seoul restaurant, to the 16-floor of a K-Town building, while also gearing up to debut Odre, an East Village affordable prix-fixe spot.

2024-07-10T19:02:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd