Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to West 14th for Jelly Pork and Spicy Rice Cakes.

Zusik is a new Korean restaurant started by a "couple of dudes from Seoul" who seem to understand that the way to survive on 14th Street is 1) roll out with a something-for-everyone menu, regardless of cuisine, and 2) be as much of a party spot as possible. The Cuban diner Coppelia across the street, which is always loud and crowded and serves food that's better than it probably needs to be, is something of a model of what works around these parts.

The "Zu" part of the name, as the large sign in the main dining room explains, translates as "alcoholic beverage" (while "Sik" means "food"). For $13 each, there are cocktails like the Hongcho Cosmo and a Yuzu Bees Knees. Or choose from among the several varieties of Chum-Churum soju, or a shot of potent Hwa Yo 41, or some Makgeolli, a milky, sparkling rice wine. Hite beer, "extra cold," is on tap. I went pretty early on both Friday and Saturday night over this past weekend, so can't confirm if the place gets rowdy, but the potential is certainly there.

There's plenty of room in the main dining area, with seating for about 40 at wooden tables, with another, cozier space further back, used for spillover or private events. White-painted brick, slatted wood walls, and exposed beams give the place a vaguely farm-to-table feel. A dozen stools wrap around the wide, white bar up front. Multiple servers, runners, and hosts stand at the ready wherever you are, and you will never feel as if you've been forgotten.

(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

The abiding direction in the Zusik kitchen seems to be make it Korean(ish), but with tamped-down flavors. Except when it comes to truffle oil, unfortunately, added with abandon to my potentially exciting chicken liver mousse, which comes with a bounty of first-rate fried Pork Rinds as the headliner. I'd love to try this dish sometime without that evil oil. The word "truffle" appears several other times on the menu, but I didn't risk further exposure.

The Jelly Pork had some zing to it, the jiggly slabs of pig parts buried beneath a pile of fresh cilantro, pickled fennel, tangy yuzu dressing, chili flakes, and fried garlic. My favorite dish was probably the Spicy Rice Cake, which paired the chewy tubes of starch with equally chewy fish balls in a red chili sauce. It wasn't really that spicy, but it had presence. The side order of Potato Egg Salad was also good, and ate more like funky mashed potatoes than the chunky picnic staple.

A subdued sort of kimchi makes an appearance in the Old Fashioned Rice Bowl, where you'll also find (not enough) sautéed anchovies, a few nice big hunks of salty spam, some pickled things, and a runny egg. The glass noodles in the Mushroom Japchae were pleasantly sticky, laid over with meaty slices of fried fungi for a solid share plate. Much less successful was the Beef Ramen Pasta, a weirdly sweet, way-overcooked concoction that tasted like something my buddy Tod and I might have thrown together back in our twenties, too drunk at 2:30 in the morning, from whatever we could scrounge in the kitchen.

Zusik plays it too safe in the food department, but it's a generally pleasant and lively space that could prove useful when you need a last-minute, drinks-and-dinner spot in the area.

(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

Zusik is located at 202 West 14th Street, just west of Sixth Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 a.m. and on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (646-370-5331; zusikny.com)