“THERE is a moment at the beginning of most meals at Madangsui,
Manhattan’s best Korean barbecue restaurant, when someone at the table begins to laugh.”
The barbecue is excellent: fresh, glistening butterflied short rib, thin-sliced ribeye, brisket, tongue. There is pork belly and there are giant mushrooms; there are jumbo shrimp. Some meats are served plain, for dressing afterward in a sheet of sesame oil run through with salt and pepper, with a dash of bean paste. Others are served in marinades, in either a soy-based, fruit-thickened number that is almost reminiscent of teriyaki or a garlicky take on kochujang that tingles in the mouth, leads to sweat and more laughter. It is particularly good on pork. Best, perhaps, is the plain butterflied short rib known as saeng galbi.