This is a new upscale Korean restaurant on First Avenue in the East Village, right across the street from Noreetuh. The chefs, according to their website, had previously worked at Bouley and Gramercy Tavern.
I arrived with my date at around 10pm on Friday night. It was crowded, but there were a couple tables open, as well as a few seats at the bar and a few seats at this big community table they have in the front of the place. I was asked if I had a reservation (I didn't), and we were seated at the bar (which I actually might have enjoyed better than a table at a place like this). At that hour people gradually started filtering out until, by the time we were finished, it probably wasn't even half full. So I'm not sure why they couldn't give us a table, but whatever.
This is fancy Korean small plates, with fairly precise technique and (mostly) excellent flavors. There's no free banchan, and if you want a real meal you're going to have to order three or four things per person. The prices don't look too bad (most stuff is around $13-$18), but of course it adds up.
homemade tofu (good)
wild sesame soup with oyster mushrooms (weird but not bad)
beef tartare (very good)
"jang-jo-rim" with buttered rice (very good. this was slices of braised beef over rich, buttered rice)
smoked mackerel (outstanding)
pork belly & kimchi (good)
sides of kimchis (good) + rice
dessert: potato chips with honey (very good)
Mostly very enjoyable food. The mackerel is, in my opinion, a must-order. My date ordered it and I got a taste, and I was envious. The jang-jo-rim was also terrific, and one of the more filling items on the menu (other than the rice dishes, the food is pretty light). The pork belly was fine, but not good enough that it's worth ordering, in my opinion. If I were to compare this with another, similar restaurant, I guess it would be Danji. Glad to have this place right around the corner from my apartment. One of the better new restaurants this year. Worth a visit.