welcome to hell’s kitchen

Definition(s) of HELL’S KITCHEN
noun

1. Region in western Manhattan encompassing 34th to 57th street, zip codes 10019 to 10036

2. Danji’s neighborhood

Origin: Wikipedia isn’t even sure how the name “Hell’s Kitchen” was created to describe the gritty area inhabited by Irish, Italian, and Puerto Rican immigrants way back in the day.  It is said that a gang, tenement, local dive, and slum in London all took on the name in as early as the 1880s, so basically no one has any idea of its origin whatsoever.  It was pretty much always a shady area up until Giuliani cleaned up the streets as mayor of New York.

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Today, Hell’s Kitchen is gentrified (like almost every other corner of Manhattan).  While it’s lacking good food in general, there are a few very well-established restaurants that have been around for ten years or more.  What makes this neighborhood good for Danji is that it is on the border of big corporate offices, expensive condos and apartment buildings — a result of a sudden real estate boom, um, before 2008.  Its diverse, local community naturally caters to the yuppie crowd.

A few of Danji’s neighbors (with my personal commentary):

(1) Therapy – A gay bar right next door that was slamming almost a decade ago and regaining in popularity today.  It’s been around for a long time.
(2) Yakitori Totto – A really, really good yakitori place.  Older sibling of Totto Ramen (see numero 3).
(3) Totto Ramen – I don’t know what it is about Japanese ramen shops but there are always lines out the doors to these places.  This place was no exception.
(4) Wondee Siam – Authentic, spicy Thai food.
(5) Xai Xai – One of my favorite places in the neighborhood.  A South African wine bar… mmm.

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More press for Danji, this time in the NY Post:

Danji: Contemporary takes on Korean tapas from a chef who honed his chops at Masa and Daniel (346 W. 52nd St.; October).

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