bad news, great news

I have bad news and good news for you all.  I’ll start with the bad because I love saving the good for last — like the time I made a bag of Halloween candy last me a whole year (because my mom forbade junk food from the house otherwise) and I made sure to purge all the licorice-flavored jelly beans out of my stash first.

Bad news: Day 1 of demolition started last Wednesday, assuming that the permit for construction would be approved on the same day.  That permit… is still nowhere to be found.  Actually, aside from a few issues (yet again) plaguing the process, the permit should be issued by this afternoon.  Day 2 of demolition will resume hopefully today or tomorrow.

What was the issue?  Basically, the building Danji will be residing in has a number of rent-controlled tenants.  Because of that, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) requested the filing of anti-harassment paperwork stating that the landlord is not forcing the tenants out of their space.  This required an examiner to swing by and check things out, further complicating matters and stretching the time passed before the start of demolition.

Great news: Danji is included in two fall dining previews, a.k.a. this restaurant is really happening and word is starting to spread!  It’s interesting to note that of all the restaurants featured in NY Mag, Danji is the only one that is a first venture.

Metromix NY says:

Daniel/Masa vet Hooni Kim will open this 33-seater that will serve a mix of traditional and modern Korean cuisine, served up as small plates. The restaurant’s name refers to Korean clay jars used to store food items like kimchi or condiments, and the interior is appropriately inspired by hues found in a pottery studio. (October)

New York Magazine describes Danji as:

Modern and traditional Korean small plates from a veteran of Daniel and Masa.

Both descriptions include the word “modern” in it and I have always wondered what “modern” Korean food really means.  Is it “Korean” food, with spices toned down for non-Korean tastebuds?  Does it mean strips of bulgogi slapped onto a soft corn tortilla and topped with cilantro?  I’ve eaten at “fusion” Korean places (PS: I hate the word “fusion” — it sounds so fake) and have always been disappointed to the point where I regretted not visiting the local pizza joint instead.

In any case, I hope Danji can serve as the future benchmark for modern Korean food, as a restaurant that remains faithful to its Korean character, spices and all.  I don’t see why not, as this two-year-old toddler on YouTube proves that anyone can love — and be protective of — something as spicy as kimchi.


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