My first of seven programs at Jua is a burst of smoke and texture, a seaweed-wrapped chew of prawn, uni, smoked trout roe, rice and pickled cucumber which dances someplace between Western and Korean. It’s each luxurious and acquainted, not simply an introduction to chef Hoyoung Kim’s wood-fire-centered cooking however a concise illustration of Korean delicacies’s evolution in New York Metropolis.
Korean eating places have lengthy been a part of the material of New York eating, however the shift from conventional ideas, à la Ok-town barbecue, to chef-driven eating places started a couple of decade in the past. Although David Chang wasn’t cooking Korean meals, his success with Momofuku Ko satisfied Hooni Kim, who had labored on the critically acclaimed Daniel and Masa, that he may make severe, ingredient-driven Korean meals with out the trimmings of tremendous eating.
“When Hooni opened Danji, it was monumental,” says Simon Kim, proprietor of Cote, the Michelin-star modern-Korean steak home. “The restaurant was small. He didn’t spend some huge cash, and he obtained a Michelin star. Danji made the dream attainable to us.”
Quickly after Danji, fine-dining Jungsik opened within the former Chanterelle house. Chef Jungsik Yim had studied on the Culinary Institute of America, made waves again house with Jungsik Seoul and returned to the States to share his imaginative and prescient of New Korean delicacies. He recruited proficient cooks from Seoul, together with Hoyoung Kim and Junghyun Park, all whereas “increasing many peoples’ framework of enthusiastic about Korean delicacies,” Park says. The restaurant now boasts two Michelin stars.
Park and his spouse, Ellia, now personal Atoboy and Atomix, the previous an informal affair, the latter a totally immersive, Michelin two-star tasting expertise woven in with artwork, music and beverage pairings. “Simply as New York Metropolis is a various, ever-evolving metropolis, we additionally attempt to be open to various influences and evolve and experiment,” says Park, who considers his eating places extra New York than Korean.
Like Park, many Korean and Korean-American cooks have been interested in New York’s high-caliber kitchens and culinary faculties. Over time, an ecosystem of restaurant professionals, buyers and consultants fashioned. Now, amongst 15-plus progressive ideas, the town is host to Michelin-star Jeju Noodle Bar, raucous Korean-American Nowon, East Village fine-casual Mokyo and Korean hot-pot restaurant On. Park says there’s room not just for larger range however for hyper-focused bulgogi, hwe (a Korean strategy to sliced uncooked fish, just like sashimi) and soondubu eating places.
At Cote, Kim likens meals to steak omakase, for which diners sit round $10,000 smokeless Shinpo grills and eat 9 bites of “the head of beef,” together with non-compulsory caviar and first-growth Bordeaux. He opened a second Cote in Miami earlier this yr and, with Korean tradition blossoming on the worldwide stage, sees potential for progress in different US cities as properly.
Nonetheless, Kim believes New York will stay the epicenter of tremendous Korean eating. “I profoundly imagine we’re a metropolis of our personal, a worldwide metropolis,” he says, “and there’ll at all times be alternatives for cultures to fuse and create one thing thrilling.”