Boka: Bon Chon on St. Mark’s

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day.  It’s been years since I’ve lived near my mom on Mother’s Day, so I wanted to take her somewhere to get a nice lunch.  My mom has lived in the city for years, so I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate (some place she hasn’t eaten at quite a bit already), but I settled on a place called Boka: Bon Chon.  It turned out to be a good thing too.  Boka is a Korean food place and my mom had never had Korean food before, so besides lunch she got the gift of a new experience for Mother’s Day this year.

Boka: Bon Chon on St. Mark's

As for the restaurant itself, I was a little skeptical at first, because when you first walk up to it, it looks more like a bar than a place you’d go for a good meal.  From the outside, it’s pretty unassuming.  You would hardly know it’s there.  There’s no large sign or store front to speak of.  It occupies just the bottom level of the building seen above.  There’s a karaoke bar above it, a Japanese noodle place to the right and another restaurant that I didn’t really pay much attention to on the left.

Interior of Boka: Bon Chon on St. Mark's

The interior was a surprise.  It’s really nice and really clean and the décor was classy, if not something I’d think of when I think ‘Korean’.  The place gives more of an English pub impression, to me at least.

We got there at around 2 PM, between lunch and dinner, so the place was empty.  By the time we left, it was starting to fill up.  It looked like the crowd was mostly younger people, which makes sense since NYU has dorms in the area.

Pork bibimbap from Boka: Bon Chon on St. Mark's

I chose the pork bibimbap.

Beef bulgogi from Boka: Bon Chon on St. Mark's

I helped my mom pick something from the menu, since she wasn’t familiar with the food choices.  She got beef bulgogi, which is pretty tame and a good first taste of Korean.  I think that’s what I had, the first time I ate at a Korean place.

The lady that served us seemed to be the only server working at the time, but it wasn’t busy.  She seemed a little unsure of herself and I got the impression that English was still a bit of a struggle for her, but she was very friendly.  Our food and drinks came to the table quickly, though she seemed a bit surprised that we just wanted water and Coke, rather than soju, sake, or beer.

Overall, the place is pretty cool.  The atmosphere is comfortable, the food is good, the prices are reasonable and the service was good.  I’m looking forward to visiting again.  I think next time I’ll try the Korean style fried chicken.  I saw a tip on Foursquare, after we’d ordered of course, that the Korean style fried chicken there kicks ass.

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