You can go ahead and file this entry under the "random things I like to eat, and I feel I should tell other people, because they might like to eat it too" tag. Now to answer the pressing, and very important, question of "what is that shit that looks like someone took a moderately uncomfortable dump on top of my rice, then garnished it with some cilantro?" - the correct answer is that it's the beef gratin from Pastel, located in Food Gallery 32. A few months back I ate a buttload of dishes from pretty much every stall in the food court, and while most of those memories kind of blended together into a glorious orgy of flavors in my mouth, a couple of dishes stood out. One of them being this -ish, which in my mind tasted like the sickest version of Hamburger Helper ever created. To put that comment in context, Hamburger Helper is basically straight crack for fat people - and because it requires 'cooking,' it feels fucking gourmet. This is 10 degrees more awesome than that.
This was what I got the first time I went to Pastel. I'm not sure why it changed so much - the first time was cheesier, gloopier, but less beefy and laden with brown sauce - but both of them tasted pretty ridiculous to me.
What actually goes into this "gratin" is magically simple - a bowl of rice gets blanketed with a combination of thinly slices of tender beef bulgogi, sauteed green and red peppers, onions, cheese, and an unidentifiable, yet curiously delicious, brown sauce that tastes something like teriyaki meets curry. Why is it so awesome? Part of it is the nostalgia factor that I mentioned... it feels like something that I could conceivably have cooked during college when I was drunk and emptying out my fridge in a brilliantly stupid act of culinary experimentation. Part of it is because I'm moderately surprised by how well integrated all these random flavors seem to blend together. Most of it is because I'm dumbfounded that some dumbass/genius actually gets to charge people money for something so fundamentally retarded, but can still be considered ethnic 'fusion' cuisine. Anyway, you probably won't find this appetizing if you're a fan of traditional cuisine, or a purist of ethnic foods, but if you're hammered beyond belief in Ktown on a Friday night, you'll probably think this is the tits.
tl;dr - Pastel, located in Food Gallery 32, serves this bowl of rice - with what appears to be beef and peppers smeared with diarrhea - called the beef gratin. It tastes pimp as shit. The ultimate in ethnic stoner food. You should eat it... even if you're sober.
Food Gallery (Pastel)
11 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10011