What comes to mind when you think of reasons to go to Chinatown? Authentic Chinese restaurant? New boba shops? Or Asian bakeries? Well, you might want to add this place to your list.
Round K was a coffee shop in the Lower East Side that reminisced a Dah-Bahn or Korean coffee shop. The coffee shop was open for years but was unfortunately closed when the pandemic hit. Though closed, Round K was remembered by many, and Han Sol Kim was one of them. Seeing how customers remembered Round K, Kim, an ex-employee that worked at Round K for five years, decided to bring Round K back. With the original owner, Ockhyeon's blessing of the name "Round K," and Kim's personality, Round K was reincarnated as Round K by Sol. Going to Round K by Sol is like entering three different worlds. The dining space here each has its characteristics. Upon entering, you'd see a bright interior that gives a welcoming feeling. You may initially presume the area is small because you'd only see bar seats, but there is more room than you think. Open the door at the end of the room you'll see a space with a completely different interior style — a room featuring green/black walls and stained glass light. It's almost as if a speakeasy bar hides behind the coffee shop. If the weather is nice out, you could also access the backyard. Round K by Sol offers many familiar brunch menus with a Korean twist. The new owner incorporated ingredients like kimchi to add originality to the foods. The cafe also runs as a bar at night. Similar to its cafe hour, Round K by Sol presents Korean culture by serving drinks made mostly with Soju. The Korean coffee shop offers several signature drinks, and Flat Purple is one of them, which features black coffee with ube cream on top of it. My initial presumption is that the drink would be sweet since the ingredients include vanilla syrup and heavy cream. To my surprise, it is closer to what a latte would taste like, and the sweetness level is just perfect for a non-sweet drinker like me. Yuja Honey Tea is also a good option if you're looking for something refreshing. You can't come to Round K without trying out their food. As familiar as it may seem, if you look closely at their menu, you'll realize that the foods here are the owners' take on "Korean" brunch. We decided to go with two of their house specials — K-BBQ Party Toast and Chicken Sandwich. Almost all menu items feature their famous kimchi butter/ranch, which gives it a distinct taste and makes it a good combination of the west and east. Though I did not get to try the cocktail, I got to peak at what the table next to me had, and I would love to return to try it. Round K by Sol is a neighbourhood coffee shop I hope to have in my area. I could see myself either enjoying brunch on weekends or coming for a quick drink after work.