Pocha 32

This Koreatown pub is akin to a garlic trap: The herb’s pungent odor pervades an expansive room draped floor to ceiling in nets. Hundreds of unscrewed sake caps and Styrofoam cups filled with pens are caught up in those nets alongside you, clearly indicating the activities encouraged here: drinking, drawing, and writing messages (“21st Birthday—BALLIN’,” says one). The ballin’ in question occurs at plastic chairs pulled up to metal-topped, wooden barrels most likely supporting a bottle of Bohae Bokbunjajoo (a cold, sweet, black-raspberry wine) or a carafe of soju mixed with watermelon. So whence the garlic odor? For one, there’s a spicy, bubbling stew of pork slices, tofu, squid, kimchi, and tons of onions; for more, there’s the heaping dish of skinny noodles, spicy snail, scallions, and still more onions. So pop a mint and enjoy the bird’s-eye view from the floor-to-ceiling window. This is one trap you might not want to escape. — Daniel Maurer (NYMAG)