Her Name is Han is a Korean restaurant located just a block off Midtown’s Koreatown. It specializes in an elevated and modernized homestyle of Korean cooking (afterall, the place is named after the owner’s mother).
In line with my goal of reconnecting with people I haven’t been in touch with, I came here to catch up with my cousin (who I haven’t properly sat down with since another cousin’s wedding almost two years ago) and her cousin (one of my childhood playmates who I haven’t spoken to in YEARS). It was nice to have the opportunity to catch up with them and enjoy some good food (thank you AWu for treating!). It also wasn’t as awkward as I thought it might’ve been.
Sidetracking a bit… but is anyone else horribly awkward when seeing/meeting old friends/acquaintances? I feel like whenever I hear others talk about it, their experiences are of the “it seems like time had never passed,” “just like old times,” “we picked up right from where we left off” variety. That is usually not the case with me; we could’ve been the closest, bestest buddies who told each other everything but if I haven’t seen or spoken with you in a while, when I see you again, it most likely will be a bit awkward and tense for whatever reason. For me, it feels like having to learn how to walk again or something with me floundering and falling along the way. I really don’t know why that is but I just can’t connect with people right away even if at one point or another we were truly close. Anyone have the same “problem”?
Ahem… back to the food
Cocktails: Lychee Sparkling, Thank You Berry Much, Great Good Grape
The drinks here are all quite refreshing and not too strong on the alcohol which is great for me. If you want a heavier hand with the alcohol, it’s probably better to go with their sojus or makgeolli. 🍸
Small Plate/Banchan: Stir-fired clams with potato noodles in a spicy sauce
Unlike most Korean restaurants, Han does not provide that many banchan (free side) dishes. They have the ubiquitous kimchi, pickled sprouts, an interesting sampling of mashed red potato or beets, and a yuzu dressed salad. This was fine with me as I don’t actually eat most of the banchan items anyways. However, they will refill as much of the banchan dishes as you want.
The potato noodles with clams is a great twist on the usual japchae you would get. I think I like this better. The clams have great flavor and even though I can’t handle spicy very well, the sauce is still great and bearable spice-wise. The sauce also made the noodles quite slippery to the point where I was almost slurping them down. 🍜
Mains: Assorted Hot Pot in Spicy Fish Broth, Pork Belly, Fire-Grilled Beef
The hot pot has so many goodies! There are assorted seafood (mussel, clams, shrimps, etc), beef, fish balls, sausages, egg (mouthwatering!), potato noodles, ramen noodles, and rice cakes. The broth is spicy but it’s a slow burn, you don’t really notice until you’re quite well into it. It also doesn’t taste fishy at all.
Their bbq meats are grilled in the kitchen so you don’t get the experience of doing it at your table but I’m fine with that when it tastes this good. They claim on the menu that Han’s pork will fatten your soul and I can attest to that! The pork belly is so crispy and rich with the fatty pieces just melting in your mouth. But it is a tad too salty for me; I would definitely recommend that you chase bites of that pork with some rice or salad.
The grilled beef was my favorite of the mains. It is well marinated in a slighty sweet soy mixture. It is very flavorful and tender. I regret that I didn’t gnaw on the bones before the waiter cleared the plate.
Desserts: Tofu chocolate mousse with salted almonds, Rice Wine Tiramisu
Ending dinner on a bright note with some vegan desserts. The tofu chocolate mousse tasted very chocolately. It’s more on the dark and bitter side of the chocolate spectrum. The rice wine tiramisu was a pleasant surprise for me as I thought the rice wine might overwhelm the dish for me. But you can hardly taste the wine. In fact, it tasted more like a cheesecake to me than a tiramisu with a very nice creamy texture. I liked the tiramisu more than the chocolate mousse.
I’m not a Korean food connoisseur by any means but I think this is a great place to have some delectable food and drinks while getting a taste of some traditional Korean eats with a modern twist. Everything is very flavorful but not greasy/heavy (with the exception of the rich pork belly). I heard their fried chicken is suppose to be amazing. I’ll definitely want to return for that and other items I want to try (seafood pancake, grilled bulgogi, etc)
Han has a cozy, intimate atmosphere with an extra seating area tucked in the back. It gets packed but still has a laid back vibe. Service is attentive but not intrusive (shoutout to Ron for being the hostess with the mostest 👏). I will say that for me, this is right on the edge of almost being a special occasion place. The portions are not huge; I left satisfied after this meal but I was not full or stuffed. The prices are not outrageously pricey ($8 cocktails, $12-$15 small plates, $20-$35 mains, $5-$10 desserts) but for those who are trying to curbed their spending, this is not exactly the ideal place for it.
It’s definitely a place you should try out though. Have any of you been to Her Name is Han before? If so, what is your favorite dish? Or what other Korean restaurant would you recommend? Please let me know in the comments.
Her Name is Han
17 E 31st St.
New York, NY 10016
The Mew Ratings*:
Enjoy the mew life,
*The ratings are based out of 5 mews