Do Hwa

(Adeline Ramos)


(Adeline Ramos)

The magic of Korean cuisine in the West Village

By David Farley

Over the past few years, Korean cuisine has been on fire. Culinary adventure-seekers have gravitated to Koreatowns all over the country to sample the cuisine’s fun, funky, and oh-so-satisfying flavors, while chefs with Korean leanings, such as Roy Choi in Los Angeles, David Chang, Hooni Kim, and Deuki Hong in New York, have raised the profile of the cuisine to stratospheric levels. Words like “bibimbap” and “kimchi” have entered into our lexicon. But throughout this entire culinary boom, one spot in the West Village has been steadily serving up delicious Korean fare all their own: Do Hwa.

The restaurant is run by Jenny Kwak and her mother, Myung Ja Kwak, who also owned the beloved Dok Suni in the East Village. Quentin Tarantino loved their cooking so much he became an investor in Do Hwa – and if you’re lucky you might find him at the bar some night quaffing his favorite cocktail, Mr. Blue—or a glass of soju.

In a space that used to be a magic club, Do Hwa now performs magic in the kitchen. The tableside barbecue is fun for groups, but the list of Korean specialties here is particularly tempting. Start with the rice cakes, sticky and deliciously chewy pinky-shaped morsels liberally doused in a tangy chile sauce, or the unctuous, fall-off-the-bone ginger-spiked pork ribs.
The battered deep-fried chicken, arriving in small pieces you can eat with your hands, is emboldened by a jalapeño-spiked sauce that’s drizzled over the bowl. And the menu’s newest item, sautéed shrimp, comes intermingled with stir-fried cilantro, for a refreshing mix on the palate.

While the latest buzz-worthy Korean restaurant may be turning heads, Do Hwa is waiting for you in the West Village with a glass of soju in one hand and a bowl of house-made kimchi in the other.


Mon–Tue 5 PM–10 PM; Wed noon–10 PM; Thu–Fri noon–11 PM; Sat 3 PM–11 PM; Sun 3 PM–11 PM

price range

$8 (pan-fried beef dumpling) to $37 (marinated boneless beef short ribs)