Winning dishes with extra MSG flavor

Editor’s note: Front Row contributor Ron Wechsler is not only ESPN’s VP for Content Development, he’s a foodie. You might also discover that he’s a Knicks fan. He’s combined his two passions for this post on the eve of Celtics-Knicks Game 3 on Friday night (7 ET, ESPN, ESPN3.com). @RonWechsler

Ten. Long. Years.

That’s how long it’s been since the New York Knickerbockers have won a playoff game at Madison Square Garden.

Think about that. The last time the Knicks prevailed at the Garden, there was no Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or “i” anythings. Friends was the No. 1 TV show, MNF was still on ABC, and (perhaps most depressingly) many of my ESPN colleagues were still in middle school.

Needless to say, after going down 0-2 with two heartbreakingly close games in Boston, New Yorkers are hungry for a win. Which is not only accurate, but also a perfectly cheesy segue for this post.

Now, just because you’re going to watch a game at the Mecca doesn’t mean you have to drop 10 bucks on a hotdog there. There are myriad food options all around the Garden. And I’m not talking major chain restaurants…I’m talking authentic New York epicurean delights.

So, without further adieu, let’s check some ways to fill your stomach before filling up on what I’m sure will be the sweet, sweet nectar of victory for Knick fans come Friday night.

“K-Town” – Korea Town is an area that is primarily on one block, 32nd st between 5th and 6th Ave. But on that one block are so many insanely great food options that they almost overwhelm you. Here are a sampling of choices:

Coke vs Pepsi. McDonalds vs. Burger King. Bon Chon vs. KyoChon vs. Forte Baden Baden. Say whaaa?

You may not be aware of this, but Korean Fried Chicken Wings are incredible, and on this one block a match for KFCW supremacy rages with fiery intensity. I am personally a fan of Bon Chon (pictured in the gallery below), but your tastes may vary. You can’t go wrong, unless of course, you ask your arteries.

Bon Chon Chicken – 325 5th Ave
Restaurant Forte Baden Baden – 28 W. 32nd st (3nd floor, through the sketchy bodega)
KyoChon – 319 5th Ave

Mandoo Bar – 2 w. 32n St.
Mandoo is the Korean version of the dumpling, and there are few better options in town than this spot. Would recommend a small fried portion, and then a larger steamed sampling of vegetable, shrimp and meat.

Paris Baguette – 6 W 32nd St.
Catering to the super specific Korean-French fusion dessert crowd, you can get pretty much any pastry you ever wanted here. And hopefully you don’t have any issues with cellophane.

Food Gallery 32/Bian Dang – 11 W. 32nd St.

This is a new food court that is one part Blade Runner, two parts awesome. You can spend a few days just here, but my choice would be Bian Dang, which was formerly a popular Taiwanese food truck. They make a fried chicken with a side of “secret” pickle relish that will make you rethink the meaning of life.

Arirang Homemade Noodles – 32 W 32nd St.

This is a little off the beaten path. A bit of a Kumite vibe. You have to go through a side entrance and up an elevator with a large sign that says “No More than 5 people!”

They didn’t specify weight, so that feels more like an educated guess than a city inspector driven mandate. But if you do make it to the third floor, you can order a $10 bowl of noodle soup that is delicious and ginormous.

Would personally recommend Jared Jeffries hit this place in the offseason . . . put some meat on those bones my man!

Café Macaron on 485 7th Ave (36th St)

If you’ve been to Paris, you’ve seen these colorful cookies in places like Laduree.  Now, they are the new craze in NY.  Look, no matter how lousy a day you may have had, no matter how anxious you may be about the Knicks’ chances in this series, it is physiologically impossible  not to smile while downing a French Macaron (I’ve asked the Sport Science team to weigh on this)  That’s me asking for “Row 1.”

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