“New York City’s heavyweight restaurants were once all about their opulent settings and glorious views, even with a star chef in the kitchen. Dinner in those days—we’re talking Manhattan’s rip-roaring, pre-9/11 era—could be a full-fledged event, before picnic benches replaced velvety armchairs, back when caviar still trumped rooftop kale. At high-rise hot spots like Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, the food could be terrific or awful, but either way those top-of-the-world dining rooms would be packed with hobnobbing patrons dressed to the nines.
Gaonnuri, in that context, is a serious throwback: the first restaurant atop a skyscraper to open in ages, thanks to a $5 million investment from its financier owner. Located on the 39th floor of a Koreatown tower, the sleek space offers some amazing sights of a twinkling skyline—newly appreciated post-Sandy—through its wraparound windows. But the cooking, it turns out, is spectacular too. The Korean classics are among the best in the city, and, refreshingly, at not much more than sea-level prices.”