161-29 Crocheron Avenue, Flushing, Queens
$40 per person for a group of 11, with drinks, with tip
For one of the Dr.’s birthday celebrations this year, I gathered his favorite people together to share a table at Sik Gaek Restaurant in Flushing, Queens. Everyone had just seen the Anthony Bourdain NYC Outer Borough episode and the cut with Momofuku’s David Chang was the talk of the food world. Because of the hype, I didn’t need to convince our friends to make the trek and even rent a couple of Zip Cars to get there.
I had called a few weeks earlier to save us one of the tables in the corner nook. The restaurant had its loyal following even before the No Reservations episode aired, but seats are even more in demand now. The guy on the phone warned me that if my party was late, they will give up our table–we all came 10 minutes early and they immediately seated us and got us fried eggs for appetizers with cold beers.
If you’ve seen the episode, you know that the main attraction is the live octopus. As much as I liked the cephalopod’s texture in my mouth and the sticky tentacles on my tongue, the hit for me was the seafood pot that was filled with mussels and clams. The broth in the end after every shellfish was consumed and discarded was superb. I just wanted a bowl of it while curled under my warm down comforter.
We also ordered the usual fare of Korean barbecue and kimchi chigae and shared several kinds of panjans, or side dishes. The beer and soju did not stop coming, and soon enough, the Dr. was wearing the restaurant’s house ‘fro while they played the Happy Birthday song in both Korean and English. It was a good family meal with good company.
Sik Gaek food photos and live octopus food videos on Flickr