Korean barbecue restaurant chain Sam Won Garden opened their first American eatery on Friday, bringing galbi gui and kimchi to hungry diners in Manhattan’s Koreatown. Located at 37 West 32nd Street, the three-level Korean restaurant is a collaboration between American operations director Simon Lee and Sam Won Garden’s parent company, SG DineHill.
The original Sam Won Garden opened in Seoul in 1976. Unlike many other barbecue restaurants of the day, the luxurious flagship eatery in Seoul’s ritzy Gangnam district seats around 1,200 people and features a waterfall, a fake mountain and a picturesque pond. The restaurant serves around 2,000 people per day and employs over 70 chefs in its mammoth kitchens. The Korean name “sam won” translates to “the three utmosts” in English. These utmosts are cleanliness, kindness and deliciousness.
The restaurant has given their Seoul menu an American twist, adding Los Angeles-style galbi and kimchi mung bean pancakes with bacon to their more traditional fare. The eatery’s famous dishes are available as well, with their traditional marinated galbi and saeng galbi on offer. The menu even gives a nod to the recent poke craze with a tuna poke dish. For patrons who want a relaxing drink with their meal, So Nam offers a wide selection of beers and sojus. For its American iteration, the restaurant has sourced high-quality beef from Arizona ranches that do not feed growth promoters, animal byproducts or antibiotics to their animals.
Sam Won Garden is not the first American restaurant to sport the famous name. Restaurants in Texas and Florida also go by Sam Won; however, they are not part of the South Korean chain. Sam Won Garden’s new Manhattan location is the fourth branch of the South Korean chain. Currently, there are two branches in South Korea and one in Jakarta, Indonesia.